It is an important skill for people that time travel. Not like, actually time travel, but for people that are constantly thinking ahead.
People that are constantly thinking about things will sometimes let stress from tomorrow leak into today. Their mind shifts from the present to the future, and they experience stress that does not even exist yet. Mindfulness is simply being present in the moment. But for people with mental health issues, being present in the moment is not easy.
Anxiety constantly pulls people out of the present moment, and depression often doesn’t even allow for moments at all. While music can be a soothing distraction and simple escape, it can also be an effective tool to practice mindfulness.
There is a technique called “tracking” or “mixing” in which a person sits in a relatively noisy room and trains his or her ears to isolate one sound in the room. Suppose a noisy coffee shop has a fan that makes a constant and repetitive clicking sound. The goal here is to focus on that clicking and let the rest fade to white noise. Then, slowly add sounds to the mix. The goal now is to see how many sounds can be isolated but simultaneously mixed in with the rest of the sounds.
Tracking With Music
The technique is a bit different for music and is best practiced with headphones. Over the ear or noise-cancelling tend to work better but earbuds will suffice. Pick a fairly simple song with few instruments, or a piece of classical music. Vocals are optional but tend to be more distracting and makes the technique a little more difficult.
Play the song all the way through. Then, play it again, but use your mind to isolate just one track or one instrument. Listen to that one track the way though. Pay attention to just the bass guitar or just the drums, and let the rest fade to white noise.
It might be something people take for granted, and living in the moment comes naturally to many people. For people living with mental health issues, however, it is a constant practice. Most people like music, and most people can pull out their phones and play a song at a moments notice. Once this practice is mastered, it becomes easier to practice throughout the day and leads to being more mindful of the present moment without music.