I am someone who has struggled with anxiety for most of my life. I am someone who worried I was going crazy at times in my life (more often that I like to admit). But not anymore.
I have learned some profound things along my road to peace. I want to share them with you.
Music has always been the joy and comfort in my life. Performing was the only time I felt truly alive. From my first time on stage as a professional vocalist, I craved more. More excitement, more praise and more of the alcohol that went with the party atmosphere. More, more, more!
Nothing was ever enough to fill me up or quiet the fearful thoughts in my mind.
Over the next few years, I moved to Nashville for my music. I was welcomed warmly by some of Nashville’s major players in the music business and I gave concerts with some major acts. My songs received some airplay in the States and more airplay in Europe and Australia. Even with these opportunities rolling me forward, I had become habituated towards self-destruction and I didn‘t even know it.
Both stints in Nashville ended abruptly after a few months. This was because the panic attacks and shaky hands with which I’d suffered had gotten so debilitating, I could not leave my apartment or drive a car. For years, I struggled with this anxiety and addiction. Gratefully, I found my way out of the dark through Music, Holistic Arts and Mindful Practice. And I am so grateful for the life I have now. My life and I are far from perfect and will always be an evolving work in progress. But the difference is this: my life is a happy creation of my own making. I am a stronger, happier, more at peace being who (most of the time) feels pretty darn good about things.That was not who I used to be.
For years, whenever I performed, people would come up to me and say they felt like the voice and music wrapped them in a soothing bath of loving sound…they felt lighter, calmer…better.
Whenever I heard that, I would think to myself “Really? Are you talking about me?” It was funny hearing that kind of healing coming through me considering the jacked-up, tense ball of nerves that I usually lived in.
It was kind of like when I would be in the liquor store and people would come up to me and say “Girl! You touched my sould so deeply with your music on that christian TV show!” To which I would say a muffled “Thanks! So glad!” as I furtively tried to hide the gallon of bourbon I was buying behind my back. Yikes! I was using alcohol and food to quiet my anxious mind. You can guess where that took me. There was a big disconnect between the person I was and the person I wanted to be. ( for more on my funny little life go here )
So, I made some serious changes in my life that included amazing music and holistic healing arts. Soon after, I began to wonder how much more healing my music would give if it were infused with life-changing affirmation, healing vibration and loving intention?
I began creating songs as healing tools. Or they began creating me…
And help arrived. I changed my lifestyle and empowered myself with spiritual music and people. I began studying and practicing the healing arts, meeting some amazing healers. I learned more about the healing power of music, spoken Word and loving intention through my own personal transformation. The music gave me new eyes to see when
I made the connection between the music I listened to and the thoughts at the top of my mind.
Beautiful music became part of my daily wellness ritual. The vibrational energy of the music changed me. The loving affirmations carried in the songs began permanently replacing years of negative mental chatter. As I began to share my gift of music in concert, people would comment afterwards that they felt as if they had been freed from their everyday anxieties and challenges, feeling more connected to their Spirit. As I healed, my mission became clear to make harmony of my life experience and my gifts in a way that serves profoundly. Music was my way out of the dark and I know it has the power to heal anyone.
I am not saying there are no bumps on my road of existence, there are. I used to think that in order for me to feel “normal” and be a “good girl”, I would need to be completely serene and content sitting calmly (in a field of poppies of course) with no need of a smoke, a drink, a cupcake, a pill, or desire for an unhealthy obsession to grasp onto. Though I have left my need for the above mentioned things behind in my previous existence, this ‘QUEEN of CALM’ perfect picture has never materialized and probably never will. What I do know is what helped me heal can work for you too. That is why I am here…
You need to know that you can feel soooo much better. All is well today. For the most part, I live the life I always dreamed of. I am experiencing life in a way I thought was reserved for everybody else except me: a life filled with love, peace and happiness.
Love and Blessings,
I think it is important to provide data illuminating the connection between ending anxiety and music (since that is what I am all about)for you to peruse, every so often.
Several concluded that listening to music could decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety in heart patients — individuals who were physiologically effected by the stress and anxiety associated with their conditions. Out of 23 studies that included a total of 1,461 patients, listening to music provided relief of anxiety and stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
Although a significant mood change wasn’t seen in those with depression, a positive mood change was seen in some. Only 2 of the 23 studies used actual music therapists for music listening and treatment.
David Bradshaw, Ph.D., of the Pain Research Center at the University of Utah helped explain, "Engaging your mind with music can help alter your sense of time so you worry less about what's happening in the moment.”
One hundred forty-three subjects were evaluated for yet another study. They were instructed to listen to music tracks, follow the melodies, and identify deviant tones. During the music tasks, they were given safe, experimental pain shocks with fingertip electrodes. The findings showed that central arousal from the pain stimuli reliably decreased with the increasing music-task demand.
Music helps reduce pain by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways, stimulating emotional responses, and engaging cognitive attention. Music, therefore, provided meaningful intellectual and emotional engagement to help reduce pain. Among the study subjects, those with high levels of anxiety about pain had the greatest net engagement, which contradicted the authors' initial hypothesis that anxiety would interfere with a subject's ability to become absorbed in the music listening task. They noted that low anxiety actually may have diminished the ability to engage in the task. The findings suggest that engaging activities like music listening can be effective for reducing pain in high anxiety persons who can easily become absorbed in activities. They noted that interaction of anxiety and absorption is a new finding and implies that these personality characteristics should be considered when recommending engagement strategies for pain relief. Holmes said the findings are valuable because they pinpoint exactly where alcohol causes damage that leads to problems overcoming fear.
"We're not only seeing that alcohol has detrimental effects on a clinically important emotional process, but we're able to offer some insight into how alcohol might do so by disrupting the functioning of some very specific brain circuits," said Holmes. And for those who are using drink to combat anxiety take heed: Understanding the relationship between alcohol and anxiety at the molecular level could offer new possibilities for developing drugs to help patients with anxiety disorders who also have a history of heavy alcohol use. "This study is exciting because it gives us a specific molecule to look at in a specific brain region, thus opening the door to discovering new methods to treat these disorders," said Kash.
I remember how the song “Lighten” came to me as clearly as if it were yesterday.
I was rocking my baby to sleep and probably drooling on myself because I was so tired and relaxed at the same time.
I thought of all the other women in the world who work so hard,give tirelessly of themselves to their families and the world, have such love that they share. I was thinking of how incredibly wonderful they are….how precious and loved they are.
And how they probably still struggle with occasional feelings of guilt, insecurity and self-doubt…sometimes questioning if what they are doing is enough, good enough. How they do the absolute best they can and it is not easy raising children today. By ‘they’ I mean YOU. YOU and ME. and probably most women around the world.
So, I was sitting in our little nursery and knowing what I wanted to do in a rare moment of clarity. Rare being the operative word here...
I wanted to create a musical hug for you, like a soft, warm neck and shoulder wrap (you know the ones you heat in a microwave) but in audio form. Then I closed my eyes and the melody came drifting into my head…a moment later, here come the lyrics landing on my mind. Wow! It felt right and good so I went with it and a few months later, this song was recorded, performed and (thank you God) loved. Here it is – you are so loved!..
”Lighten” to be used whenever you are feeling anxious, heavy and weighted by worry...close your eyes, click play HERE and breathe. This practice helps to shift energy and lighten your state of being. May you find comfort here… Love to hear from you! here on Facebook too..
Anxiety and Panic Attacks are the great levelers of humankind. No matter who you are, your socioeconomic status...dealing with anxiety hurts and can derail your entire life. My name is Carolan Deacon and I have had GAD for most of my adult life. Not much anymore though...I found powerful tools that worked for me and am so grateful. I wish that I had known drug-free help for anxiety existed years ago. I suffered needlessly. So, if I can possibly help shorten your path to happy peace by sharing these posts...it is my honor and my privilege.
I am going to share one specific tool that has helped me immensely in leaving panic attacks behind for good!
Pay attention to the type of media you surround yourself with. I am not talking about simply avoiding horror films. I am talking about minding what you read, watch and listen to. It matters because your brain is not a computer that stores data. You have emotions and the media that you surround yourself with has emotional baggage with it that you take in with it. It affects your mind, how you feel, your cardiovascular system, your nervous system…everything is connected. When I first realized the connection between the music I happened to be listening to and the thoughts that were at the forefront of my mind...I decided to take extra care in the types of media I ingested. It makes a HUGE difference in how you feel.
Tagged as: anxiety , music