Music is powerful because it can influence us in a number of ways. Aside from its power to stimulate social bonds, it has the ability to influence our mood state, our productivity, our spending, and even our perception of the world. Numerous studies have been conducted regarding the influence of background music on the behavior of consumers while shopping.
Ronald Milliman’s study on the effect of music on the behavior of supermarket shoppers supports the idea that music with a slower tempo increases the desire of the shoppers to be more sociable and take their time while shopping. (Connory Timmins, The Effect of Music on Behavior)
This is just one example of the power of music to subtly yet significantly influence our behavior. Music can influence us in this way by interacting with our subconscious mind. Research demonstrates that the subconscious mind is constantly absorbing subliminal cues and messaging within our environment. Science is still working to understand and communicate the full power of the subconscious and the role it plays in our experience.
The subconscious mind is arguably the most complex part of the human body. Its purpose in the human body is to store and retrieve data and gives the human brain the unique ability to store an almost unmeasurable amount of data. The subconscious mind is also in charge of tasks that the body needs doing without having to consciously think about or homeostatic impulses. These homeostatic impulses include tasks such as keeping body temperature constant and keeping control of breathing and heartbeat rates. (Connory Timmins, The Effect of Music on Behavior)
Listening with intention challenges us to be mindful about the music we listen to and how we listen as a practice for wellbeing. Choosing music that aligns with how we want to feel can be an act of self-care and can have a beneficial influence on our mood and overall experience. Below are a few steps to begin listening with intention.
What is your intention? Are you looking to feel more relaxed? Productive? Comforted? Inspired? Take a moment to check in with yourself and determine what you need. You can do this by asking yourself, “what do I need right now?” or “how do I want to feel?”.
Once you have established your intention, next you will want to select music that aligns with this intention. You can do this by tuning in to the lyrics and overall feel of a song. How does it make you feel? What was the artist’s intention in creating this song? If your intention is to feel relaxed, choose songs that make you feel relaxed. If your intention is to feel inspired, choose songs that make you feel inspired. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s all about how a song feels to you. Add the songs you select to a playlist that you can go back to anytime you want to align with that same intention.
Now that you have made a playlist of songs that align with your intention, it’s time to listen. Find a comfortable setting and play the music. Listen to the words and overall feel of the song and allow it to foster whatever emotions it needs to. Try to listen without interruption and once you are finished, check in with yourself again to see if you have successfully cultivated feelings that align with your original intention. If you need to adjust some songs to help for a better outcome next time, that is okay! You can adjust and arrange your playlist as much as you need until it feels right.
Did you enjoy listening with intention? Let us know @healthandbass :)