Studies have shown that music can have a powerful impact on both our bodies and our minds. Depending on the type of music being listened to, our moods and energy levels can actually be altered. Hearing classical music can influence how we feel and perform because of its ability to slow down pulse and heart rates, raise levels of dopamine, and lower levels of cortisol. This can also lead to long-term benefits such as a reduced risk of heart disease and a decrease in blood pressure. It has even been proven to create a restorative effect by altering brain activity. For people who need to relieve stress or simply want to relax and unwind, there’s no better genre of music than classical or instrumental. Fortunately, there are many ways to incorporate this relaxation technique into your daily life.
If you want to set a relaxing tone for the day, start by waking up to classical music. This will help you maintain a sense of peace and focus while doing your morning routine, especially if you have a stressful day ahead of you. On the way to work, playing soothing music in the car is a good way to avoid road rage. Instead of seeing traffic as a stressful waste of time, try reframing the moment as me time, a concept which has been proven to be a necessary ingredient for happiness. Another benefit is how relaxed you will feel upon arriving at your destination, which is bound to have a positive impact on the rest of your day.
Music is a great mood elevator and distraction, making any activity less of a chore. Playing classical music while paying bills can help distract from thinking about finances. If cooking and/or eating are stressful activities for you, adding music can make them more enjoyable since music lowers cortisol and triggers the relaxation response, the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. This makes it easier to digest food, ultimately aiding in better digestion, which also reduces stress. Since the tempo of certain classical pieces is similar to the sounds of the human heart, pregnant women who listen to classical music are less likely to feel stress, anxiety, and depression throughout their pregnancies.
If stress is affecting sleep patterns, try playing instrumental or classical music before bedtime instead of watching TV or going online. As opposed to visual stimulation, hearing relaxing music in a dark room will make you focus on your breathing, which is a pacifying sensation. According to a sleep study, listening to classical music for just 45 minutes before bedtime can improve sleep quality significantly. Because sleep itself is a stress-reducer, the process works in a cyclical way. Better sleep leads to less stress, which in turn leads to better sleep.