Listening to music can help to alleviate stress. Not everybody likes the same style of music. It’s essential that you listen to the music that makes you feel comfortable. Sitting down and forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that makes you cringe may create stress, not alleviate it.
Music is a significant mood-changer and reliever of stress, working on many levels at once.
The entire human energetic system is hugely influenced by sounds, the physical body and charka centers respond specifically to certain tones and frequencies. Special consideration should be given to the positive effects of one actually playing or creating music themselves.
Among the first stress-fighting changes that take place when we hear a tune is an increase in deep breathing. The body’s production of serotonin also accelerates.
Playing music in the background while you are working has been found to reduce the stress of the workplace. Music was found to lower heart rates and to promote higher body temperature – an indication of the onset of relaxation. Combining music with relaxation therapy was more effective than doing relaxation therapy alone.
Many experts suggest that it is the rhythm of the music or the beat that has the calming effect on us although we may not be very conscious about it.
When in our mother’s womb, we were influenced by the heartbeat of our mother. We respond to the soothing music at later stages in life, perhaps associating it with the safe, relaxing, protective environment provided by our mother.
Music can be one of the most soothing or nerve-wracking experiences available. Choosing what will work for any individual is difficult, most will pick something they ‘like’ instead of what might be beneficial.
In doing extensive research on what any given piece of music produces in the physiological response system many unexpected things were found. Many of the so-called meditation and relaxation recordings actually produced adverse EEG patterns, just as bad as Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.
The surprising thing was many selections of Celtic, Native American, as well as various music containing loud drums or flutes, were extremely soothing. The most profound finding was any music performed live and even at moderately loud volumes also if it was somewhat discordant had very a beneficial response.
As we mentioned before, no single music is a good fit for everyone. People have different tastes. It is crucial that you like the music being played. I recently picked up a rest and relaxation CD that has done wonders for me. It has the sounds of the ocean in the background while beautiful piano music plays. I find this very soothing.
It’s not a good idea to play ballads or songs that remind you of a sad time in your life when you’re trying to de-stress. You’re trying to relax and wash away the anxious thoughts. The last thing that you need is for a sad song to bring back unhappy memories.
Here are some general guidelines to follow when using music to de-stress
• To wash away stress, try taking a 20-minute “sound bath.” Put some relaxing music on, then lie in a comfortable position on a couch or on the floor near the speakers. For a more in-depth experience, you can wear headphones to focus your attention and to avoid distraction.
• Choose music with a slow rhythm – slower than the natural heartbeat, which is about 72 beats per minute. Music that has a repeating or cyclical pattern is found to be useful for most people.
• As the music plays, allow it to wash over you, rinsing off the stress from the day. Focus on your breathing, letting it deepen, slow and become regular. Concentrate on the silence between the notes in the music; this keeps you from analyzing the music and makes relaxation more complete.
• If you need stimulation after a day of work, go for faster music rather than slow calming music. Turn up the volume and DANCE! It doesn’t matter if you can actually dance. Just move along with the music and do what feels good. You’ll be shocked at the release you can feel!
• When going gets tough, go for music you are familiar with – such as a childhood favorite or favorite oldies. Familiarity often breeds calmness.
• Take walks with your favorite music playing on your I Pod or MP3 Player. Inhale and exhale in tune with the music. Let the music take you. Combining exercise, imagery, and music is a fantastic stress reliever.
• Listening to the sounds of nature, such as ocean waves or the calm of a deep forest, can reduce stress. Try taking a 15 to 20-minute walk if you’re near the seashore or a quiet patch of woods. If not, you can buy tapes of these sounds in many music stores.