June 20, 2015

World Music Day: How music reduces stress!

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” Friedrich Nietzsche
Everyone is busy with something or the other. People are involved in a lot of activities, are swamped with office work, some are dealing with studies and because of all this, stress is inculcated. Even the weather can give you jitters. One needs to get out of this stress-trap. Nowadays, being in strain is a common phenomenon which needs to be tackled carefully and effectively.
When it becomes hard to find a way out from the overwhelming anxiety enveloping your lives, try turning towards music. While stress is a feeling that every human being experiences at some time or the other, people do react differently to it because everyone’s psyche is different. Some may need to take a few moments out of their busy schedule to relax and others may need to move out and work off the tension.
When stress levels are high, music can be used to reduce anxious feelings, whether indoors or outdoors. Music is something that is around us all the time, in supermarkets, restaurants, offices and parties. Research has shown that music can change a person’s attitude and can change the levels of perceived anxiety.
Music can be a part of many different activities which promotes relaxation as well as inspires us.
Music can also have a profound effect on both body and soul. While certain kinds of music can grab our attention instantaneously, others help to explore emotions.
Fast beats and upbeat music can make you feel more alert and more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quieten one's mind and it also helps in relaxing muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day. This means that it can be a great aid to meditation, helping to prevent the mind from wandering.
Choose music that helps you feel comfortable, calm, still, composed and positive. Listen to that particular song that creates restful feelings while relaxing in a peaceful place. Music has the ability to quickly shift one's mood which is affecting our subconscious mind where negative thoughts feed on our fears and fuel the fires of stress.
While de-stressing, focus on deep breathing and feel all the tense muscles of your body relax. Contemplate on things that are good in life. This process can provide a break for the aching body, brain and emotions.
When people are very stressed, there might be a tendency to avoid listening to music actively. Perhaps it feels like a waste of time, since it does not look like a way to achieve anything tangible. But as we know, productivity increases when stress is reduced and music can help reap vast rewards through anxiety relief.
To incorporate music into a busy life, try playing CDs in the car, or put on the radio when in the shower. Take portable music with you when walking the dog or put the stereo on instead of the TV.
Singing (or in many cases, shouting) along can also be a great release of tension, and karaoke is quite enjoyable too! Calming music before bedtime promotes peace and relaxation and helps to induce sleep.
Music has been used for hundreds of years to treat illnesses and restore harmony between mind and body. But recently, scientific studies have attempted to measure the potential benefits of music.
They have found:
Music’s form and structure can bring order and security to disabled and distressed children. It encourages coordination and communication, thus improving their quality of life.
Music therapy significantly reduces emotional distress and boosts quality of life among adult cancer patients.
Certain music is appropriate for meditation as it can help the mind slow down and initiate the relaxation response. However, not all peaceful or the contemporary music works for everyone. Music with no structure can be irritating or even unsettling. Gentle music with a familiar melody is often more comforting. Look around to find what produces a sense of calmness for you as an individual.
The sounds of nature are often incorporated into CDs made specifically for relaxation. For example, the sound of water can be soothing for some people. It can help conjure up calming images such as lying beside a mountain stream on a warm spring day. Bird-song may also be of use as an aid to help your mind slow down and alleviate stressful thoughts.

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