From the group/tutor feedback – because I still didn’t know where to take it – I was told to choose just three words to focus on, and to find a personal connection with an aspect of it. I started by looking at memory, music and therapy, and through this found that even though I was very interested in memory I had the least ideas for this. I looked at music and therapy to relate an aspect back to myself. I have been struggling with stress and anxiety lately so have been very interested in ways to deal with this. Strategies like mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises have associations with “hippies” or “alternative”. Could I make these more mainstream? Through my own learning of different coping strategies could I help other students or other people in general to positively deal with the everyday stress in their lives? I have always worried about things, but have found lately with the pressures of uni and decision making for the future, this has become more overwhelming. Our generation is so consumed by our everyday lives and have more pressure and stress than maybe ever before. The rise of technology means that we are always connected to something, always doing something, rarely taking time out. I feel that if I have a calmer mindset and the tools to manage stress, I would be more productive, calmer and happier. I want to be able to provide other people with these tools, tackling the problem before it reaches a more advanced level, for example leading to depression. Some people may not even think that they are stressed, but they may not realise the effect their behaviours or habits are having on their wellbeing. I want to be able to influence people to change their thinking and ultimately their behaviour. By giving them the tools to cope, this could change their behaviour and be applied to all aspects of their life, and taken into the future. There seems to be a perception that people who experience anxiety or high levels of stress are “crazy”, but I want to change this. Everyone experiences some levels of stress or anxiety. I want this to be seen as “ok”, to a certain level! Some stress is healthy; if it’s out of control it is extremely bad for you. Initially I will look at both stress and anxiety, but may just narrow it down to one aspect. Music and emotion are an integral aspect of stress and anxiety, in understanding and coping with it.
So where does music fit into this?
From my previous research, it is scientifically proven that music can be used as a therapy to enhance our wellbeing and relieve stress. It was also evident from my survey that nearly all of the respondents listened to music to relax and relieve stress. Music may not end up being the core focus of my project, but rather the answer to the problem. Music could be an aspect of the solution to coping with stress or anxiety, or to our overall wellbeing.