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Music is Cheaper than Therapy | Happiness Practice 11

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Ever feel stuck in an incessant bad mood or worry that your workload is causing too much stress? Are you sad or worried about something? 3 Minutes to Zen is here to help!

Today I’m actually giving you an assignment – a mission, if you choose to accept it (sorry couldn’t help it). I think this little exercise will show you how easy it is to chip away at the stressed-out version of you. It’s an easy one, so you have no excuse. ☺

This assignment is super simple, you are going to either sing or dance your f-ing heart out for one song. You can choose to sing or dancing. But you must do one of these and you must do it full out for an entire song.

Singing:

I personally LOVE to sing. Singing has actually changed my life over the past year. In the depths of my postpartum depression, I stumbled into a local choir. Singing for 2 hours once a week literally brought me back to life.

Singing requires you to breath deeper and more intentionally – freeing your chest and lungs from the tension that daily life can cause. Not only that, read this exerpt from a Time Magazine article about the emotional of singing:

Researchers are beginning to discover that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.

The elation may come from endorphins, a hormone released by singing, which is associated with feelings of pleasure. Or it might be from oxytocin, another hormone released during singing, which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress. From Singing Changes Your Brain, Time Magazine, Aug. 16, 2013

The best place to sing? Alone in the car of course! I pretend I’m a freaking rock star on my commute. I have a playlist in Spotify where I put all of the cheesy songs I love to sing, from Barbra Streisand to Melissa Etheridge. So pick a song and then really try to sing it. Go all out. No one is listening – this is for YOU.

Dance:

If singing isn’t your bag baby, then you can dance for one song. Like singing, dancing activates particular areas of the brain that remain dormant much of the time.

Dancing also does wonderful things for your stress level. It moves your attention from your brain into your body, so you can forget about what’s happening in your life and simply feel the music. Dancing and movement also frees up your body from the tension that you traditionally carry.

So next time you are even remotely alone, whether you are cooking, picking up, or even getting ready, turn on some really great dance music. Then dance it out. Get into it. I like to pretend I’m at a club, in the center of a circle of people saying “go Lauren, go Lauren…” Yup I did just say that out loud.

You only have to do this for one song to complete my assignment. But my guess is once you realize how good this feels, you will start to do it more often. It’s time to incorporate more fun and livelihood into your life. Enjoy it!

Listen to the song that inspired this practice title here: Cheaper than Therapy, Rogue Wave

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