I think it’s safe to say that for most people, music and stress relief go hand in hand. Whether you play an instrument, sing or just listen to music for enjoyment, music has a way of soothing our souls and helping us feel good.
For many of us music has become part of our everyday lives. It’s hard to imagine a life without music.You don’t need to attend a music therapy session to reap the benefits that playing music can have on your health. Playing music at home or at a music lesson can help with stress management, and here are a few reasons why:
Playing music helps you practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the state of being fully aware of the current moment, without being distracted by past events or future worries. Meditation is a common way to exercise mindfulness, but practicing your scales or learning a song works well, too.
Playing an instrument forces you to take time away from the screen. With work, school, and socializing becoming increasingly reliant on technology, it seems we never take a step back and do an activity in the real world. Working with your hands, away from your phone or computer, is a perfect way to unwind.
Playing music can be social, and socializing can reduce stress levels. Music is a fantastic way to connect with like-minded individuals, share ideas, and work together to produce something excellent.
Benefits of Music
The benefits of music cannot be denied, in fact studies have shown music to be a wonderful tool that can promote wellness and help us overcome many of the obstacles we face in life.
Music has shown to help us reduce blood pressure and to also build serotonin in the brain. In music therapy, an official therapy promoted and endorsed by the American Music Therapy Association, has shown music to be effective in managing stress, promoting physical rehabilitation, memory enhancement, emotional expression, pain management and better communication.
Research also shows us that music is an effective tool when added to other settings such as gyms, spas, child care facilities, waiting rooms, etc.
Let us not forget how music gets us to tap our feet, move our heads and dance.
Music for Stress Management
There are quite a few ways to use music as a stress management activity in your life. Here are some ideas that will help you think about how you’d like to incorporate music into your day.
- Play an Instrument – Maybe you play the guitar, piano or the drums… or maybe you always wanted to learn? Now wouldn’t be a bad time to get yourself to focus on playing an instrument or learning a new song. The more you focus on something positive, the less you will dwell on your problems. Through playing an instrument you bring yourself into the here and now and you help yourself take a break from your anxious, depressed, stressed out mind.
- Sing – That’s right! Sing your heart out! Whether for an audience or in the car by yourself, singing is a great way to relieve stress and promote wellness. If you really love singing, why not make it a regular hobby? Many people do this through participating in karaoke while they are out with friends or at home.
- Dance – Who says you need a club to go dancing? Move some furniture around, turn up your favorite dance tunes, and just dance! You have heard the saying “dance like no one is watching” …well, do it! Dancing is such a great exercise! Not only does it help to burn fat and calories but it helps to burn off those negative stress hormones while building serotonin in your brain. If you have kids, dance with them! Little children love to dance around and have fun too. This is a sure way to turn a stress management activity into fun memories. Another great idea is to take dance lessons or teach yourself a new kind of dancing like ballroom, salsa, tango, or even break-dancing. Don’t be afraid to try new things!
- Listen to Your Favorites – Maybe you’ve got some old albums, or favorite CD’s you haven’t listened to in a very long time. It’s time to dig out that old music collection and let it play! Many times by pulling out those old favorites we also bring back many great memories of years past. If your mind is in a good place, your body and mind will both benefit.
- Relax – Listen to music that induces relaxation. Classical, soft jazz, ambient and other types of relaxation sounds help us with laying down the stressors of the day and perhaps visualizing a more peaceful, relaxing place. This kind of music can easily be added to other stress management activities, such as taking that hot bath or those meditation exercises.