For centuries, humans have relied on music to reduce anxiety, relieve stress, improve mood, provide comfort, improve sleep quality, and generally, promote overall health and wellbeing. No doubt music calms the mind, heals the body, and soothes the soul. Music, especially meditative music, also reduces depression, promotes happiness, and help us connect with others.
Given the numerous benefits of music, most of us turn to music for overall comfort during times of high anxiety and stress simply because music has been shown to be very effective at keeping our bodies and minds balanced. A recent study published by the National Academy of Sciences show that dopamine, the feel-good hormone, is released when we listen to music we love. Dopamine is responsible for making us feel happier, more motivated, less stressed, less anxious, and ready to take on the world. The more you listen to calming music, the more dopamine your brain releases which leads to better relaxation and increased ability to cope with stress and anxiety.
Here are three great ways music helps us remain sane and balance our lives:
1. Reduces Stress
Stress can be very dangerous to the body and can lead to numerous diseases including obesity, high blood pressure, heart attacks, cancers, and infections. When our body is in a stressed mood, the bad hormone, cortisol is released and floods our body. Apart from damaging our health, cortisol and other bad stress hormones disrupt our mood, reduces our productivity, and reduces our quality of life. It also strains our relationship with ourselves, our family, our friends, our co-workers, and other people around us.
Music can be an antidote to stress as it calms our brains and encourages it to release “happy” dopamine which in turn reduces our stress level and promotes our wellness. Since music is generally calming and soothing, it can be an effective tool in stress management. When we are calm, our body produces less of the disruptive stress hormones so we are able to better control our mind and emotions. Music also helps to maintain our heart rate and pulse in a healthy range which in turn, keeps our body healthy and our minds less stressed and anxious.
2. Reduces Anxiety
Anxiety is as bad as stress. A little anxiety every once in a while, is perfectly okay, but some of us are more anxious than we like to be. Most of us are worried about things that are beyond our control like the novel coronavirus. Many of us are also anxious about our health, finances, family, relationships, work, and so many other things. When we get anxious, our body tries to protect us by releasing some stress hormones including cortisol. Continued anxiety leads to more of these bad hormones flooding our bodies and leading to chest pain, increased heartbeat, digestive problems, cancers, and weakened immune system.
Music is a great cure for anxiety because it can distract us from what is making us anxious, absorb our concentration, and help keep our minds from wandering off to sad things that make us depressed. Calm, meditative music has also been shown to help with reducing anxiety, reducing stress, promoting peace, and keeping us grounded and well-balanced.
3. Improves Mood
Nothing improves our mood better than listening to soothing and meditative music that we love. When you are stressed and anxious, it naturally follows that your mood will not be the best. And even if stress and anxiety does not bring a mood change, there are so many other reasons why we end up in a sour mood. Isolation, lockdown, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of freedom, inability to do the things that we love to do, a bad day at work, a fight with a loved one, finances, health issues, hormonal imbalances, or just waking up on the wrong side of the bed – all of these are enough to get us in a bad mood and once you are in a less than perfect mood, the rest of the day or week, goes downhill.
Music can again affect the mind to improve our mood by triggering a release of the good hormone, dopamine into our brains. When you are in a terrible mood and listen to soothing music or just any music you love, you get not only dopamine released to chemically heal your brain, you also get the joy and pleasure of singing along and getting caught up in the music. Once you are in tune with the music, it is easy for the bad mood to slide pass and you will feel much better and in control of yourself. And when you are in control, you will feel less anxious and less stressed.
Health experts recommend listening to meditative music to reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood. Several apps offer simple and effective ways of getting the right music that fits our moods however, Zen Lounge meditation app, is a unique mindfulness app that allows users to customize their music based on their mood. Zen Lounge, available in Google Play Store and iTunes, lets you mix and match music customized for your mental health with other sounds while still being in control of the duration of each segment of music. You simply choose how you feel and what you need from several options including healing, relaxation, sleep, depression help, mindfulness, anxiety mediation, and so many others and the app takes it from there!
The interface is so easy and child-friendly that anyone can easily use it including children and the elderly. Zen Lounge also allows you to track your mental wellbeing, record your daily progress, and best of all, it rewards you positively for your progress with Zen Levels. Overall, Zen Lounge offers anxiety and stress relief, reduces depression, and lets you to feel connected to the rest of the world particularly during these times of isolation and high anxiety. Zen Lounge is available for both android and iOS smart devices, and can easily be downloaded in several languages including English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.
Disclaimer: The author is the developer of this free, easy and simple app – Zen Lounge, made with the sole intention of helping people currently in distress due to the widespread pandemic.