Think about the last time you experienced a stressful situation. Chances are you experienced many of the following symptoms:
- Increased heartrate
- Heightened blood pressure
- A knot in your stomach
- A headache
- Trembling hands and voice
- Anxiety, anger, depression, or some other strong, unpleasant emotion
Afterwards, you may have even experienced flashbacks to whatever unpleasant situation prompted your stress reaction in the first place, causing you to relive that awful moment over and over again.
Or perhaps you can’t put your finger on one singular event that precipitated the stress you’re feeling. Instead, the constricting stress that’s sucking the life out of you has resulted from the cumulative little stressors that niggle at you every day in many ways. Perhaps you have recently experienced:
- An interpersonal conflict
- A change you didn’t ask for or want
- Rush hour traffic
- A disappointment
- A minor failure or personal loss
- A financial setback
- Non-stop busyness
- Getting by on too little sleep
- Some physical ailment
Most of us can handle a couple of stressors without missing a beat. But cumulatively they can gang up on us and we begin to feel the weight of all the stress bearing down on us. The result may be a compromised immune system, loss of appetite (or overeating), low libido, depression, low self-esteem, decreased productivity and motivation, and a host of other unhealthy symptoms.
The remedy for all this stress may be just a song away! Numerous studies have demonstrated the ability of music to help counteract and prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress. Not only can music make us feel better emotionally, but it can greatly promote our physical health.
5 Ways to De-stress with Music
- Make music a part of your daily routine. Whether you choose Pandora, your favorite recorded playlist, or the radio, let the waves of soothing music wash over you. Take music with you during the day: in the car, at work, and at home.
- Combine music with other stress-relieving efforts. Exercise, meditation, and relaxation are also great ways to reduce stress. Combine music with those practices to experience even greater benefits.
- Reach for your iPod instead of the pill bottle.Recent research shows that long-term dependence on antidepressants may actually induce chronic depression, not to mention some pretty unpleasant side effects of those drugs. Music has none of those downsides, only positive!
- Select music for the mood and effect you desire. It’s no secret that music greatly affects our mood. Are you feeling down? Play something uplifting or whimsical. Has stress driven you toapathy and lethargy? Choose powerful, motivating songs. Do you simply need to relax? Play soft music that’s easy to listen to and promotes relaxation.
- Listen to music that’s specifically designed for health and well-being. Wholetones is the best example of this kind of music. Musician Michael S. Tyrrellhas especially composed and performed seven instrumental recordings that focus on relieving stress, breaking negative cycles, and restoring sleep.
If you’re feeling stressed, music may be just what the doctor ordered!
What are you listening to?