Music News YOU Can Use: Developing Spiritual Wellness

Sometimes, I don’t want to do anything! Today, I blame Rachel Rambach. I started poking around on her site at Listen Learn Music and clicked on the Sunday Sing-A-Long  for the kid friendly version of The Lazy Songand well, I embraced the intention in the (kid-friendly) song a little too firmly. But her industriousness inspired me to get posting again, so here goes. Better late than never, right?

Take time to play a little

Relax on your porch swing

The Medical Wellness Center at the University of Miami defines Spiritual Wellness as the quest for meaning, value, and purpose resulting in hope, joy, courage and gratitude. It encourages one to develop a personal faith and to seek God in all things. It is the discovery and incorporation of a personal set of values and beliefs that defines the person, places the individual in relation to the larger community, and engages a faith that promotes justice.

In Texas, many people are Christians, so that is what is most thought of when talking about Spiritual Wellness here. However, I live in a diverse community and there are people that are Jewish, Muslim, Buddist, or suscribe to a different belief system. Regardless of one’s religious or personal beliefs, Spiritual wellness is an important part of staying healthy. Here are some tips for developing Spiritual Wellness:

♫    Tune in – Be in the present moment. Take a deep breath and focus only on what you are doing right now. Multitasking is taxing on our brains and bodies, no matter how good at it we may be, so give yourself a break and focus. Notice how your body is feeling and what you are thinking about. For a musical “present moment” practice, try singing a song or playing an instrument and stay fully present with that song or piece or improvisation. Try focusing on one note and then see where that note seems to want to go next, rather than planning what is going to happen next.

♫    Tune up – Practice meditation every day. Start with just 5 minutes and sit in a comfortable position, with your spine in a natural, aligned posture and your body supported fully. Focus just on your breath, feeling the air flow in and out of your nostrils and filling your lungs completely, then emptying your lungs entirely. If your mind starts to wander, notice this, and gently bring your attention back to your breath. You can help your child do this too by holding him close, modelling deep breathing, and gently guiding him with instructions to breath in and out or singing a soothing lullaby.

♫    Tune out – Do nothing. Just BE for 15 minutes or longer, without planning, without thinking, without looking at your watch, TV, or phone. Have no expectations of yourself or others for 15 minutes.

Of course, you also develop your Spiritual Wellness by participating regularly in prayer, temple, or church attendance, observing religious holidays, and other practices consistent with your faith traditions. As a music therapist, I respected the beliefs of my clients and often had members of many different faith traditions in the same group as people who did not subscribe to any particular faith tradition. So I used the above techniques to help them develop the ability to be present, focus, and meditate, without needing to discuss any religious ideas in particular. So try some of these out yourself, or with your family or clients, and let me know how it goes. And be sure to check out Rachel’s Sunday Sing A Long series!

If you missed previous topics in this series on Wellness, check them out here:

Social Wellness
Emotional Wellness
Vocational Wellness
Intellectual Wellness