Most people enjoy listening to, playing, and/or creating music. Music is all around us on the radio, in TV commercials, at bars and other venues where we can go and see our favorite band. Listening to music is a lot of fun, but did you know it can also be beneficial to mental health? Stress and anxiety affect many people’s lives. The good news is that music can help and is a very powerful tool when it comes to stress management.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are mental health conditions in which people suffer from the inability to relax or cope with the stress of life. Stress and anxiety can be harmful to the body. Excessive worrying, feelings of stress and anxiety can release the stress hormone cortisol. This can cause physical illness such as a headache, a feeling of nausea, increase or decrease in appetite, and other physical symptoms.
It also can result in a person coping in unhealthy ways such as smoking, excessive drinking, and drug use, and poor hygiene and eating habits. Since life will be stressful and worrying will not completely go away, learning to cope with stress and anxiety in healthy ways can be beneficial to your physical and mental health.
Music and Emotions
There are many different types of music that can provoke different emotions. Many times when artists create or write music, they are putting their heart and soul into both the lyrics and the melody. Some types of music are calm and cheerful. Others might be loud and angry. Music can greatly influence our emotions and thinking. When feeling anxious and worried, listening to calming music can help to relieve those feelings. Sometimes when we are angry or worried, listening to some loud and angry music might make us feel less alone.
Listening to Music
You can listen to music just about anywhere. Going to the gym and listening to music can make you work out harder. Listening to music in the car with your windows down can invoke a feeling of freedom. Music as background music, while we clean the house, can make us feel like someone is always with us. Whether you listen to music from your iPod, an all-in-one record player or on your home stereo, listening to music has great effects for coping.
Some people love to play instruments or write their own music. This is another medium in which music can help a person cope with stress and anxiety. Many people going through a break-up or rough time in their lives may choose to create sad and soft music to show how they are feeling. Others who are happy and have found their true love may create or play music that is upbeat and jovial. Creating music is another great way to cope with stress and anxiety.
Whether you use music therapy on your own or with a professional, it can be a powerful tool in managing stress and anxiety. True music therapy is performed with a professional that has been trained in music, psychology, and medicine. A trained therapist uses a program to help a person cope with anxiety, stress, traumatic events and other health issues.
Music and Anxiety Reduction
If you have ever suffered from anxiety, then you might be looking for additional ways to cope. Anxiety can cause panic attacks, headaches, nervousness, trouble sleeping and other issues. Music can be helpful for helping people cope with anxiety:
- It can be used as a component of background noise when meditating and using deep breathing exercises;
- Different types can be used to match your mood and emotion (pay attention to tempo, harmony, and rhythm);
- Using a calmer music (such as classical) can reduce the effects of anxiety;
- Listening to lyrics can be comforting, especially if the song has a positive message.
Anxiety and Stress Management in Children
Using music as a stress management tool is not only great for adults but can be useful for children as well, according to research. The earlier we teach children how to cope with stress and anxiety, the better they will be later on in life. Giving them the tools can help to improve their quality of life and reduce suffering later on.
Using music as a way to cope with stress and anxiety has many health benefits. There are so many different ways to use music as a stress management tool. You can listen to it, create it, or play an instrument. There is also the option of finding a professional trained in music therapy. Whatever form you decide to use music in your life, the effects can be helpful. Stress and anxiety may never go away completely, but you can reduce their effects by using music.