Do you have a go-to stress-relieving strategy you’ve been practicing since you were a kid? Like, for instance, fidgeting on squishy balls or fidget spinners, watching funny TV series or comics, or just calling your friend and chatting for hours?
Well, John Melara has found singing to himself has always helped him calm down. He’s on the autistic spectrum, making him more affected by stressful situations, so he realized early on that this strategy helps him relax and face everyday struggles in a cooler way.
Melara started singing to himself at a very early age, and he didn’t mind doing it both when he was on his own or in public. That was until high school when he was bullied for this reason and he eventually stopped doing it. He was even considered inadequate for the school chorus, so he limited to singing when he was alone.
However, all of this changed when, as an adult, he was working as a technician’s assistant at a Pennsylvania hospital ten years ago. One day, as he was escorting a patient with his coworker for a scan, the man began thrashing around because of the anxiety he was experiencing due to the upcoming test. While security was called, they were busy in another department, so Melara and his coworker were left alone with the patient who, by that time, was losing it.
Then Melara decided to try singing to him. He sang Brahms Lullaby with improvised lyrics and, surprisingly enough, it worked. This gave John the confidence to start singing in public again, and he even added singing to his services when transporting patients within the hospital. Today, a decade later, he’s working at Aurora West Allis Medical Center, and he has turned this service into a whole new experience for patients.
As he explains, “It is as beneficial to me as it is to the patients, definitely”, Melara says.
So he keeps a four-inch-thick stack of printed out lyrics from Google, varying from Taylor Swift to Beyonce, from Ella Fitzgerald to Christian rock. The sky is the limit. If a patient doesn’t have a preference, he will usually go for Louis Armstrong or grab a random paper from the “Pocket of Doom”, as he calls it. Most of the time, it goes smoothly with the patients, but there was also an instance when an elderly lady not-very-kindly asked him to “shut up”! However, this didn’t discourage John, who respected her wish and stopped singing, but kept doing it for any other patient as usual.
John Melara is a person who has been given a special gift, that of calming people with his voice, and he has decided not to keep it to himself, but share it with those around him. He’s an example of kindness, strength, and resilience especially since the school-day ridicule he endured when he was younger didn’t break him down but made him stronger and here he is today teaching us all a life lesson.
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Source: Inspire More