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If this statement is true, then another reason we have difficulty dealing with stress has been exposed. Excluding a direct threat to our lives, it suggests that we allow stressful situations to provoke aberrant fears of losing something, exposing something, or fear retribution for having done something. The oddity is our seeming inability to consciously recognize this when it is happening.
Conditioning influences our interpretation of everything we see, hear and project to outside world and yes, it even influences our choice of music. Generally, we are not aware that we live our lives according to beliefs, opinions and prejudgments of others, (peer-pressure among teenagers is one example) nor do we realize that by accepting these viewpoints, we are perpetuating them.
Thus we place ourselves in a loop wherein we often repeat same mistakes over and over.
Now here's good news: It is possible to break out of loop when one realizes that (a) over-reaction to stress does not work and (b) there must be a better way - and then takes action by proceeding to summon courage, stamina and discipline to search out and reveal truth according to fact. In this way one begins to take responsibility for one's own actions.
Aw, do I have to do that?
Accepting responsibility is first step we take on road to a less stressful and more productive existence. By taking control of our lives, we'll sometimes move against grain of status quo and because of that, we'll most likely meet a measure of resistance along way. But if we persist in our quest for fact and truth, our ability to deal constructively with stress will become much easier.
There will be times when we may slip and fall back into old ways - meaning, when pressure of stress becomes too much to handle, general tendency will be to get into someone's face, blow off steam, antagonize imagined enemies, or worse - meekly swallow problem and risk a bigger stomach ache in near future.
Sure, that's quite a bumpy, cumbersome and questionable way to move forward and a lot of people bear scars to prove it. Nonetheless we usually end up learning something from our stressful encounters and when we don't - well, we've fallen back into loop. If that happens, its not a disaster. It just means we haven't quite gotten a handle on how to respond to stress in a constructive manner.
A friend once commented, "If you don't want to be crucified, don't hang around crosses". That simple logic may also be applied to stressful conditions. For example, we must learn to recognize and walk away from dead-end situations that are beyond our ability to improve. Next, we must fully understand that resolution of stressful conditions does not come about from trying to change others. Instead, we must change ourselves.
We may stumble, bruise egos and make mistakes but however inept our approach, if we persist in our search for facts or truth in all situations, we'll eventually learn how to live our lives in a more efficient and productive manner.
Help is out there
Fortunately, there are tools and methods that can help lighten load as we optimize our chances for a less stressful tomorrow.
Among them are inspiring books by authors such as Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer and others that may provide a better understanding of oneself. Employing one of various methods of meditation may also work. When need is acute, seeking guidance of a professional counselor may be an appropriate choice.
Of course, music is one of those tools mentioned above. One of nice things about music is its synergistic quality - it often works well as an adjunct to other stress management tools or methods. When we introduce music to conditioning / stress management equation, some interesting and unexpected results may occur.
For example, when listening to properly crafted music, it is sometimes possible to by-pass one's conditioning temporarily. When this happens, listener may experience strong feelings of freedom, inner peace, and a profound sense of well-being. In other words, exact opposite of stress.
We're speaking here of major changes in perspective. Consciousness may become altered to extent that conditioned reaction becomes temporarily suspended. Some may describe their musical experience as 'spiritual'. Others may have meditated on a particular personal problem and see it in such clarity that necessary corrective action becomes obvious.
At times, people may be moved to tears. Others may find it difficult to put their experience into words. In some cases, combination of empathy, understanding and emotional release can be life-changing and yes, there will be a few times when a listener may be so rigid and structured as to be unable to get in touch with their own feelings.
Whatever response, point to remember is this: It is energy of music that initially helps to unlock and open door - that we might enter a place where peaceful reflection will allow us to sort out things and possibly develop a new, more positive and constructive perspective.
You mean, It didn't come from outer space?
To be sure, music possesses many beneficial qualities but we should be mindful not to attach elements to music that it does not possess.
Of itself, music does not 'cure' anything. It does not 'solve' anything. And contrary to more bizarre claims one may find on internet, it certainly does not 'originate' from an "unknown composer who resides on a planet in a distant galaxy"... or other similar nonsense! As a point in fact, composition "GROVE SUITE" ( offered at http://www.channel1records.com ) was pirated some years ago by a metaphysical organization that actually made that claim!
What properly created music DOES do, it does very well. It possesses ability to put our hearts and minds at ease and in so doing, facilitates entrance to a clearer understanding of ourselves, reality and finally - inner peace. By any measurement, that is remarkable!
That music can be an effective tool for stress management is a given. It has been known for centuries that music can be therapeutic and there are many references in art and literature that attest to its soothing qualities. The therapeutic capabilities of music have been proven many times over and its success as a stress management tool is well documented.
That fact alone proves that music is able to minimize disturbing and unhealthy effects of stress, anxiety and burnout! Who knows, it may even take edge off some of that conditioning.
Copyright © 2003-2005 Channel 1 Records All rights reserved
Bill Reddie is the owner of Channel 1 Records, a company that has been producing music for stress relief and stress management since 1972. Further information regarding the beneficial effects of music and its potential for relieving stress, anxiety and burnout may be found at: http//www.channel1records.com