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5 ways to use your ukulele to ease anxiety

Powerful Instrument for Challenging Times

by Susan Montgomery

Did you know that you could ease anxiety while playing your ukulele? We can all probably agree that playing the ukulele makes us feel good, right? It’s fun to learn songs we love, rewarding to connect with other ukulele players, and challenging enough to keep us learning new chords and techniques. The music and the act of playing can be so relaxing that maybe you’ve even fallen asleep with your ukulele. Ok, maybe that’s just me!

While anxiety disorders can be a very serious mental health condition, below are 5 ways you can use your ukulele to help ease anxiety. Let’s check this list out!

5 Ways to ease anxiety with you Ukulele

Playing Lists for All Seasons

One of the top ways I’ve used my ukulele to help with my own anxiety is to make different playing lists for different moods. Instead of just listening to a song on a typical playlist you might have on a streaming service, make a playing list for your ukulele.

You could make one for different moods or even seasons of your life. Think about the underlying emotions you have – are you sad, nervous, depressed, angry? Pick a song or two for each emotion that you are feeling. You will want to pick songs that express your mood in the lyrics or the melody. But that’s not all! You can also pick songs that may make you feel better or lighter. Making playing lists for different moods or emotions can be very therapeutic!

Kick back with your ukulele and pick a song from one of your playing lists. This great song tutorial of Lava by Terry Carter is a great distraction and mood booster:

Improvise Your Way to Feeling Better

Have you ever just played around on your ukulele, without any clear goal in mind? Also known as noodling, casually playing notes can help ease anxiety. You can follow along with a chord key chart so that you can play notes that are all in the same key or choose to be more random. Listen to how each note sounds and play around with repetition. You don’t need to produce a final product, but you never know what could happen! It could be a springboard for a future song.

To help you with this, here’s a FREE Chordchart just for you to practice the chords. Enjoy!

Read more: Ukulele strings order and HOW TO correctly tune them

Nature For the Win

The sounds and scenes that nature provides are incredibly calming. Take your ukulele outdoors! Play random notes, make up songs, or bring your playing list with you. You don’t have to go far, either. As long as you have a little spot to sit on the grass or on a chair, you can get comfortable and just spend time soaking up the outdoor world. You’ll likely have a renewed spirit once you get back indoors.

Remember to take good care of your instrument while traveling with it! Here’s a blowout sale of cool gigbags and hardshell cases that can help you out.

Play Your Story to ease anxiety

From my own experience with anxiety, I know that there’s always a lot on my mind. Phrases, sentences, and ideas are always swirling around my head. To ease anxiety, you can jot a few of those down, play with a few chords that work well together, and then combine the two.

You don’t have to sing, either. It’s completely acceptable to just speak words of a poem or story and play your ukulele chords or melodies at the same time. I love doing that! And it generally makes me feel better when I’m done, especially if it involves silliness and shenanigans.

Listen, Play, and Breathe

Let it Be

Finally, this may seem obvious, but listen and play along with songs that make you feel good as mentioned above. This time, focus on and incorporate your breathing. Feel how your breaths go in and out, and the melody goes up or down. Try just playing one note, and breathing in. Then exhale with another note. Go slow and repeat. Feel grounded in the present moment. Keep your ukulele close by so you can just pluck the strings and breath anytime you need a moment of clarity.

The ukulele can help you to ease anxiety!

The ukulele is a fun, little instrument that can be played in many ways, for many purposes. By using our ukulele to help ease anxiety, we are embracing its calming effects through things like tailored playing lists, improvisation, playing outdoors, storytelling, and breathing exercises.

Please don’t hesitate to seek a professional if you are experiencing anxiety. Check out the National Alliance on mental Illness for a list of resources. Mental health has to be priority number one! You can also share with and meet other ukulele players in the Uke Like The Pros Premium Member Forum. Support one another in your ukulele journey!

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