No, I am not explaining how to listen to music...

The purpose of this is to explain how to use the music I create for relaxation, sleep, and mindfulness in a therapeutic way. It is of course entirely possible to just listen and that is enough, however instead of just putting it on in the background, by putting a 10 minute slot aside and doing nothing else, it can bring a greater number of benefits. I understand that it can be difficult to ask for or seek help if you are struggling, but if you are in need and don't know where to look, I have created a list of Professional Resources in the UK that may be of assistance. Alternatively, a simple Google search should highlight the services available in your area. I use these services, and is because I have that I am able to still be here and write this. If you are struggling, then make the call to them, there is help out there.

The music and sounds I create that are for the purpose of therapy and well-being can be split into 2 categories, the soundscapes with / without music and the Binaural Beats. I will explain how I personally use these, so whilst this is a guide, it is not the be all and end all of how they can be used.

The soundscapes and music I have created have been designed to work either as standalone 10 minute pieces or can be looped for longer sessions if required by the listener. The aim is for the listener to find a soundscape or a piece of music that works for them, to bring out their own thoughts of happy times or places, and is why I have covered a number of different scenarios for the soundscapes. These soundscapes are created first, as for a lot of people, these natural sounds can be listened to, and the listener then concentrates and starts to remember their own positive experiences in those environments. 

To give you an example, for the Energetic Sea Sounds, this was created by me to evoke the memories I had of being on holiday in the late afternoon, sun beaming down on me and me starting to want to go for a swim to cool down, the feeling of sand in my toes, the scent of the ocean. I can listen to that soundscape, concentrate on the sounds and be transported back, feel a sense of calm wash over me as I recall happy thoughts. I am currently creating a number of different Soundscapes first, and then will be doing variations on those themes so that people can hopefully find something that works exactly from them.

Once the Soundscape is created, I then listen to that and start to write the musical element, being inspired by the soundscape I am listening to. 

The music itself is created in such a way that the instrumentation and arrangement draws the listener in, that within the 10 minute period of the piece, the listener becomes less aware of "time", and that at the end, it feels like a much longer time has transpired. These pieces work for me and afterwards, I feel far calmer and relaxed, and it is my hope that listeners will use these during the day, or when they feel stressed, anxious or down, and in a short period of time they can start to make themselves feel a little bit better. This sort of thing is not mean to replace Professional Help, it is there to help stop you dropping that far down. By having a vigilance over your own mental health and awareness of when you are not feeling good, then using these, it can be enough of a pick-up to help you get back on an even keel. 

Binaural Beats
Binaural Beats are 2 differing tones at a set frequency apart that create a third frequency within the head of the listener, and different frequencies can be used to have different effects on the listener. More details can be found here about the various frequencies and their uses. 

I have created a number of different sets of tones, the most common ones used, that are just pure tones, no other sounds. These can be used to focus the mind in work, improve creativity, and are anecdotally beneficial to people that have Autism or ADHD (I myself have Asperger's) as the "noise" can provide a calming effect. Many users of Binaural Beats will use headphones and just have them looping, with the noises at a volume that is not distracting but the effect can be felt inside. 

I personally use the Theta Tone regularly, during a "time-out" in work, and on a loop through a wireless speaker every night on a medium-low volume. Whilst this does not create a "Binaural" effect as such in this instance, it is similar to "white noise" machines, but has a low pulsing sound that I find extremely calming, similar to a pedestal fan. I have used the Theta Tone at night now for nearly 18 months, firstly from one created by someone else which had an additional white noise layer, then since I did my own, that is what I use as it is slightly lower in pitch, but still within the frequency response of typical home audio systems / wireless speakers.

The final step in how I use the Theta Tone at night is in a way to "anchor" my thoughts and focus and to stop my mind wandering. It can help with a busy and racing mind, which in todays world can be the cause of many a sleepless night. There are 2 Golden Rules when it comes to good sleep, the first being that you should only use a bed for sleep and sex (not reading, watching TV, gaming etc...), the second is that an hour before you want to sleep, you start to wind down. Turn off devices, stop working, anything to give you a chance to have a restful night. Sleep is key to good mental health, and it needs to be prioritised. 

1. Put the Binaural Beat of choice on a loop and start to play, setting it to a volume that you can feel the "pulse", but not so it is deafening. For people that don't have a streaming service account, I also created a 10-Hour Theta Noise video with black screen on YouTube so that it can be used for free. Its not ideal as there is still glow from the screen, but if you use an eye-mask too, then this will work without interruption.
2. Get in bed, turn off the light and get comfortable.
3. With your eyes closed, focus on the pulse that you can hear, keep the sound of that noise at the front of your mind. With your eyes closed, "look" at the blackness you see in front of you. It is common for people to see images  or colours when they close their eyes and try to sleep, if this happens, pull your focus back onto the Binaural Beat and the blackness in front. 
4. Repeat this process, if any thought comes into your mind, be mindful that it is there, then cast it aside and focus back onto the tone and the blackness in front of you. It can be difficult and requires practice, but each time you cast away the thoughts that are preventing you from sleeping and focusing back, you will make it easier next time. It is 
5. After a time of doing this, you will start to realise that you have been focusing on the blackness in front of you and can't really hear the pulse as such, and soon you will fall asleep, you are calm, there are no distractions, and you have learned what it feels like to be calm and rested, and the next night will be easier.

Best of luck!

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