Musical Relief from the Stress that Is Killing Us
To claim that stress is the number one killer in the US might not be far off the mark. In fact, the American Medical Associationestimates that 80% of doctor visits are stress-induced. And they’re also finding links between stress and major, deadly conditions like stroke.
Job stress, relational stress, and a host of other causes, including the stresses associated with serious illness, medical procedures, life transitions, trauma, and PTSD all contribute to this ever-increasing tension in our bodies.
What is the remedy for all this stress? The remedy may be closer and more pleasant than you might think. The medical community all over the worldhas discovered that music melts stress. Yes, music really can soothe the stress and anxiety that ravage our minds and bodies.
Researchers at Stanford Universityfound that listening to music can change brain function as effectively as medication. There are several ways in which music alters our physiology to help us when we’re under stress.
Music . . .
- Increases the body's production of the antibody immunoglobulin A and natural killer cells that attack invading viruses and boost the immune system
- Reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Fights stress byhelping us breathe more deeply
- Accelerates the body's production of serotonin
- Recalibrates our body’s cells as they resonate with the frequency produced by the music
- Stimulates brainwaves to sync with its beat to achieve a more desirable state
- Lowers blood pressure
- Activates the relaxation response
- Produces a positive state of mind to ward off anxiety and depression
An ever-increasing number of studies demonstrate the powerful ability of music to de-stress. Music reduces the prevalence of burnout among nursing students and long-term care workers; improves school performance and behavior of inner-city, at-risk youth; and assists soldiers in overcoming the terrors of PTSD.
We generally think of music as nothing more than a pleasurable pastime, diversion, or background noise. But because of what we now know, listening to or making music serves as a wellness activity that merits a proper place in crafting a healthy lifestyle.