Using The Power Of Music To Reduce Your Stress
Listening to music can be a wonderful tool for alleviating stress. Researchers have found that music reduces a person’s heart rate and promotes higher body temperature – an indication of the onset of relaxation. Music can increase your levels of serotonin and endorphin, which promotes mood elevation and decreases stress.
Dr. Arthur Harvey, a neuromusicologist at the University of Hawaii, recommends listening to classical compositions, especially those by Bach, to relax and reduce stress. Several scientific studies have shown that certain classical compositions can indeed lower a person’s stress. However, classical music is not for everyone. Each of us has different tastes in music. You should only listen to music that makes you feel comfortable and that you actually enjoy.
It is not necessary to force yourself to listen to “relaxation music” in order to obtain the stress reduction benefits of music. You will actually obtain more benefits from listening to your favorite music. This was born out by an experiment conducted by Karen Allen, Ph.D., a research professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Dr. Allen had subjects listen to classical music selections that she had chosen for their supposed stress-relieving qualities. She had the subjects listen to the music while performing a difficult task. To her surprise, Dr. Allen found that the classical music was less effective in reducing blood pressure and perceptions of stress than was music chosen by the participants themselves. However, even the classical music (that was chosen by the researchers) was more effective in reducing the participant’s stress than not listening to any music at all.
Among the first stress-fighting changes that take place when we hear a favorite tune is an increase in deep breathing. The body’s production of serotonin (a feel-good hormone) also accelerates. This was confirmed by a 2003 study at the California Institute of Technology. The study found that when a participant listened to their favorite music those areas of their brains associated with rewards and pleasure was activated.
What type of music helps lower your stress? Share your thoughts in the box below.