M: MUSIC TO DESTRESS
Many people tell how music can help us destress. Help Guide has an excellent post about how music is beneficial to our mood and attitude: 12 Ways to Reduce Stress with Music. They state:
When it becomes hard to find your way out of the downward spiral caused by overwhelming stress and anxiety, try turning to music.
Music has the ability to quickly shift our mood, affecting our subconscious mind where pesky negative thoughts feed on our fears and fuel the fires of stress.
Listening to music is a relatively inexpensive, quick-acting solution that’s almost always available, and it could just save your life.
What’s the best kind of music to listen to for de-stressing?
Help Guide has this to say about the best kinds of music.
Your Personal Playlist – Choosing the Right Music
I am often asked: What music should I listen to if I want to relax, be happier, and feel more in balance? The answer can vary widely for different individuals. Although music has been scientifically proven to be beneficial on a number of levels, musical preferences are very subjective. One thing that is for sure, however, is that we want to be conscientious about the music we choose to listen to and the musical and sonic input that we expose ourselves to.
Music is a powerful alchemy that affects our perceptions, emotions, and physical well-being, whether we are paying attention or not. As much as music can relax us, the wrong music can agitate us and add to our stress. Typically slower, more pattern-oriented music can help regulate and relax our systems, and more up-tempo music can get us up-and-going. Happier songs can often lighten the mood quickly, and sometimes bring back fond memories.
Even sad songs can sometimes help us process heavy emotions we need to move through before we can shift to a new and happier place. Other times, a session of hard rock music can help us release our anger before we can calm down enough to relax.
Lyrics also affect us. Like mantras, these words and ideas are implanted into our subconscious through the music, reinforcing thought patterns that can affect our mood or outlook. I usually recommend omitting songs that have harsh or condescending lyrics, or that don’t emotionally resonate with you on a deep level.
After a detailed description about how music helps us de-stress, the University of Nevada’s post ‘Releasing Stress Through the Power of Music’, goes on to discuss the best types of music to destress and how our own personal preferences can sway the type of music that works best for us.
So what type of music reduces stress the best? A bit surprising is that Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes are very effective at relaxing the mind even when played moderately loud. Sounds of rain, thunder, and nature sounds may also be relaxing particularly when mixed with other music, such as light jazz, classical (the “largo” movement), and easy listening music. Since with music we are rarely told the beats per minute, how do you choose the relaxation music that is best for you? The answer partly rests with you: You must first like the music being played, and then it must relax you. You could start by simply exploring the music on this web page. Some may relax you, some may not. Forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that irritates you can create tension, not reduce it. If that happens, try looking for alternatives on the internet or consult with Counseling Service staff for other musical suggestions. It is important to remember that quieting your mind does not mean you will automatically feel sleepy. It means your brain and body are relaxed, and with your new calm self, you can then function at your best in many activities.
The University’s post also has links to eleven different relaxation melodies, ranging from three minutes to an hour.
What do you think about the power of music to destress and relax? Does it work for you? Do you have any favorites?