Music and Mental Health
Updated: Oct 28, 2022
One thing that I have learnt since working with the amazing people within Country music in the UK is how accepting everybody is. There are plenty of outlets for people who suffer with their mental health and many people who have chosen to give up their time to help others. People are also very open to discussing their experiences and problems as well as sharing when they are struggling. I myself have struggled over the past month or two with anxiety and depression, usually exasperated by stress and medication. I overthink and babble so much even my therapist raises her eyebrows at me!
Over this two part series, I have had the pleasure of talking to singer-songwriter Lisa T, and David Dawson from Mindful Melody Magazine (who we are proud to sponsor at Scarlet River Management) This week I highlight the fantastic work Lisa T does, how she got into mindfulness and what is next for her.
Lisa started her wellbeing journey through her day job as a ‘Wellbeing Manager’ for students in University completing their work placement year. As the students have a manager on site , Lisa has been able to tailor the role and choose what training would be beneficial and when. While looking into this she trained herself and became a ‘Mental Health First Aider’, and has also recently qualified as a ‘Mindfulness Teacher’. She holds mindfulness and meditation sessions with her students as well as specific role based training.
In February she released ‘A year too long’ which reached #2 in the iTunes chart and due to this success BBC Stoke radio asked her for an interview. While discussing the single, they brought up that she is an ‘Office worker’ and asked her about her day job. Intrigued, they later asked Lisa if she would be interested in offering wellbeing advice and tips to their listeners every week. While promoting this segment on social media, Nick from Belles and Gals reached out to ask if she would like to host a live stream once a month to give tips and advice to artists (and fans). This has led to a very successful partnership, with Nick just signing Lisa to his management roster.
‘Happy thoughts + Happy Words = Happy Life.’ Lisa T
While doing a weekly radio segment and live stream each month it must be hard to keep the ideas and tips/advice fresh and new. Lisa says she tries to tie in her advice based on what is going on in the world right now. Last month she focused on the anxiety of everything opening back up again, whether this was artists anxiety about performing live again or the general anxiety of getting back out into the world properly. She discussed using different techniques to remain calm and not let what is going through your head affect the rest of your body and actions.
Lisa talks about techniques which have proven to work for people as well as those that she uses regularly herself. She believes that if you are going to talk about something, you need to believe in it so it's easier to practice what you preach in order to help someone else. She even gets up an hour earlier each day to practice the mindfulness techniques which work for her and help her to keep her focus throughout the day.
‘Be still for a few moments each day to notice what is going on inside you... and close your eyes - it will help you to see more clearly.’ Lisa T
A method she regularly talks about is the Wim Hof Method. This is a combination of breathing, cold therapy and commitment that offers a range of benefits. As well as the traditional breathing methods, this incorporates the use of cold temperatures. One Lisa suggests often is having a cold water shower every morning - the use of cold water helps to train the brain not to immediately jump to the predisposed reactions. This is especially effective if you suffer with anxiety and/or panic attacks. The feedback Lisa has received from people who have adopted this method as part of their daily routine is that it really helps you get into a good headspace and is a brilliant start to the day. Talking from my own personal experience of what Lisa has sent me, especially over the last few days, there are plenty of outlets and techniques which can be used and adapted to everyone’s individual needs. There are Instagram pages which share motivational quotes for those who need a gentle reminder from time to time (or a big kick up the butt like I do!) and YouTube channels which help you to meditate and check in with yourself when needed.
Over the next few months Lisa will be busy getting some new music out to us but she has also planned to extend her wellness and mental health reach by teaming up with Whiskey Kisses. On July 11th, Lisa will be hosting a mindfulness masterclass, hopefully more will be booked in at a later date. Get over to Whiskey Kisses on all social media platforms to see how you can get booked in!
Lisa’s Top 5 tips
Gratitude - Spend a couple of minutes each day thinking of 3 things you are grateful for. Research has shown that the use of gratitude can significantly increase happiness.
Grounding - In times where your thoughts are running away with you, put your feet flat on the floor and wiggle your toes. This redirects your focus as far away from the thoughts in your head as possible - to your feet.
Lavender oil - 3 drops on the pillow at night helps you to feel peaceful before bed.
Herbal teas - chamomile and peppermint tea are great natural ways to relax. Positive language - Notice the words you use. It’s not possible to think and speak negatively and expect to feel happy.