Music can be an effective tool for stress management

Feb 24, 2021

Music can be an effective tool for stress management

Stress is a reality of everyday life. Whether it's fighting traffic, getting ready for an interview, or maybe facing a difficult relationship issue, whatever it is for you, our days seem filled with stressors. Those stressors can negatively affect our health and well-being.

However, not all stress is bad. Stress is a normal part of life, and we can’t live without it. The good type of stress is called eustress. This positive stress gets you excited for things, keeps you motivated, and helps you attain our goals.

Distress, or the negative type of stress, is what you want to manage, so it doesn’t manage you. It’s not so much what happens, but how you react to it. Managing your stress for better health and well-being is something you can choose to do. Something as simple as listening to music can help you reduce your stress. Listening to music provides a distraction, or a pattern interrupt, from the situation causing your stress.

Types of music can affect your mood

Music positively affects your mood and state of well-being, and can have an intense effect on both your emotions and your physical body. Maybe you put on your favorite song to feel better on a gloomy day or enjoy the tunes in your car as you run errands.

Faster music can make you feel more alert and concentrate better. Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. Soothing music helps you relax and unwind before bed. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day.

Certain songs or a particular genre may evoke happy memories and the emotions, allowing you to enjoy a greater sense of well-being as you are reminiscing. Take a moment to remember a pleasant experience and recall the music that was playing. Music can take you back in time and improve your mental state. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.

What types of sounds help you relax?

Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes are very effective at relaxing the mind even when played moderately loud. Music that has around a 72 beat per-minute tempo is relaxing for many people. This would be more in a line of classical or easy listening music. Something like hard rock or techno is usually not as relaxing, but it depends on the person and what memories this type of music evokes.    

Sounds of rain, thunder, and nature may also be relaxing, particularly when mixed with other music, such as light jazz, classical and easy listening.

I encourage you to experiment what type of music helps you feel relaxed and manage the stress of life better. There are many free options on YouTube. 




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