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Friday, August 6, 2010

Music: Sound Stress Reduction

 By: Tony Robinson

Music--It is the soundtrack to our lives. You might have driven
your first car while the Go-Gos blared on the radio. You may
remember singing "Memory" at your high school graduation, or you
might have had the organist play "Ode to Joy" at your wedding.
You may remember the first time you heard Bruce Springsteen, or
the last time you heard Madonna. Whether your musical tastes are
contemporary or classical, chances are you do have a favorite
form of music. And you also probably have a favorite artist or
band.


But, in addition to being enjoyable, music can serve an
important function as a stress reliever. It is no surprise that
dentists routinely play music in their offices, or that surgeons
play it during operations. Bus drivers play music to reduce
stress, as do baseball players during their warm-ups.
Musicologists say that music can have a soothing effect, an
effect that might have begun when we first heard music while
still in our mother's womb. As a result, music may, in fact,
remind us of our mothers, from whom we draw strength and
comfort. It has been shown in studies that music where the flute
predominates, such as Celtic or Native American music, is often
the most comforting. In fact, research indicates that any music
performed in person helps to synchronize the right and left
brain hemispheres. Music can be especially beneficial to the
individuals performing it. It provides a sense of accomplishment
which can, in turn, reduce stress.

Music increases the body's serotonin levels, which are
associated with good feelings. Also, music tends to enhance deep
breathing, making a person feel more relaxed. Also, background
music at work has been shown to cut stress levels. In addition
to causing heart rates to decline, music boosts the body's
temperature.

One preferable way to relax is to lie down with a set of
headphones and allow the music to wash over you. In this way,
you'll be intimately involved in the music--you'll feel as if
you are part of the music. It is easy to forget the cares of the
world when you can escape into music. You should select music
that has a slow beat--preferably slower than 72 beats a minute,
the standard heart rate.

You should focus your attention to the silence that is usually
built into musical selections in order to maximize your
relaxation. Another popular technique is to use a Walkman while

doing your morning walk. This way, you combine the
stress-busting effects of music with those of exercise. This
provides a one-two punch which is guaranteed to reduce your
stress level.

You might also try tuning into nature sounds. Sit in your
backyard, close your eyes, and concentrate on the sounds you
hear. You'll be listening to the music of crickets and
songbirds, leaves rustling in the wind and wind chimes swaying
in the breeze. You can also purchase a CD which offers the
sounds of the ocean or the woods. You'll be amazed at how
quickly you'll be carried away with the sounds. Just ten minutes
sitting quietly and listening can put you in an entirely
different frame of mind. You'll find you're better able to cope
with the demands of the day if you've spent some time listening
to music--whether it's man-made or made by nature.

It is highly important that you listen to music that appeals to
you. If you never liked the Beach Boys, chances are that playing
a "Best of the Beach Boys" CD will not calm you down.
Furthermore, if you like classical music, but can't stand
Beethoven, limit your listening to Mozart instead. The important
thing is that you feel comfortable with your musical selections.

It is hard to imagine a world without music, yet most of us do
not take full advantage of the art form. It can be unbelievably
effective in reducing stress and improving relaxation. It is no
wonder that women have been known to select their favorite music
to give birth by. Music elevates our mood; it makes us feel
happy and alive. Depending on the amount of stress you're under,
you may end up playing music just in the morning, in the
afternoon, or all day. Just remember that music time should be
relaxation time.

1 comment:

  1. Music is a great way to let go of stress. It can also be used in meditation. There is generally an "object of focus" in meditation. Sometimes, just repeating a line from your favorite song from church can bring a profound state of meditation. The key is "falling in love" and letting go of attachment to results.

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