Let it FLOW
In many of my adult and teen groups, we are working on managing stressors, anxiety, and coping with emotions that accompany difficult moments in life. One of the strategies that many of my group members say helps them during these moments of distress and dysregulation is... deep breathing. The hardest part of coping tools and stress-management strategies is that we can't always access them when we most need to, and we forget to use deep breathing as a regulation technique.
How music helps you FLOW
As music therapists, we use a unique approach to help our clients access these critical coping tools. We use musical means to help them regulate their brains and bodies. Music therapists create songs as tools that are familiar, easily memorized and, as a result, easily accessible so it is more likely for these tools to be used when the brain is not functioning at its highest capacity!
Tools to teach Deep Breathing
Today, I am sharing with you one of these tools. Many of my clients love the movie Frozen, regardless of their age. With the weather getting pretty frozen outside, it is the perfect time to use this "Let it FLOW" songwriting activity for stress management, anxiety reduction, and teaching the coping tool of deep breathing.
What is FLOW?
As you may have seen in a previous post on mindfulness, I am very into using acronyms to teach skills. For this activity, we are going to look at an acronym for the word FLOW.
F - Fill your
L - Lungs...
O - Out comes
W - Wind (breath)
This simple acronym teaches the steps to deep breathing. The goal is for the client to have easy memorization and access to this deep breathing strategy, regardless of the level of stress their brain is under.
Let it FLOW Songwriting Activity
Now that we know what "FLOW" stands for, we can explore a Let it FLOW song! This song uses a slowed-down, instrumental version of "Let it Go" (all rights reserved) to help clients express stressors in their life and the emotions that accompany them. The song then goes into a brief guided breathing excercise.
Why Let it FLOW?
The goal of this song is not necessarily to breathe with the music, but to get the song stuck in the client's head so it is available for them to use during moments of distress in the future. If it is stuck in their brain, in their long-term memory, they can more easily let it FLOW and use their deep breathing coping tools, even when their conscious brain is struggling to regulate.
Get the Song and Worksheet for Yourself
You can listen to the song, here and download it for free. I have left moments of silence for the lyrics that you will fill in. Feel free to sing along!
You can download the fill-in-the-blanks worksheet, here. I have my clients fill in a variety of stressful emotions, feelings, and situations in the blanks of the song. You can fill it in with whatever you want!
I hope this is a tool you find helpful to practice deep breathing and emotional regulation. This is an activity you can do yourself, with your children, or with your clients.
If you're not already following along with our #30DaysofGratitude, you can check out a variety of wellness and self-care strategies like Let it FLOW over on