For most people, music is an important part of daily life. Many people listen to music on their way to work, at the gym, or even while cooking or having a shower. While listening to your favorite playlist may seem casual, it actually has therapeutic benefits. Music has a high impact on a person’s mindset and well-being, which is why music therapy is an allied health profession (used with other forms of therapy).
The Relaxation Response
Stress is mainly caused by anxiety and fear. Music is a form of natural healing as can stimulate the body’s natural counterbalance to stress, called The Relaxation Response. This is when a person is in a state of deep rest, causing a change in the physical and emotional response to stress. So, music can be an effective tool for stress management. When using these alternative therapies on yourself, it’s important to know what sort of music can help you in the given circumstance. While soft, classical music might help you relax at certain times, loud rock music might be beneficial to get rid of pent up energy. Find what works for you.
7 Easy Ways to Use Music Therapy
Music therapy is an alternative therapy that one can do for themselves, to relax and unwind from the day’s stresses. Here is how you can incorporate the practice of music therapy in your daily life.
1. Relax completely
Put on your headphones and simply listen to your favorite music at a comfortable volume. Concentrate on what you’re listening to. This is one of the simplest ways to conquer depression. The (musical) blues may be good for you after all.
2. Overcome frustration
You’re on your way to a meeting, the traffic is insane, and your stress levels are going through the roof because you know you’re going to be late. We’ve all been in that situation, and the next time it happens, here’s how you can calm yourself: Turn up the music in your car and sing along. It might sound super simple, but it’s proven to reduce stress. Try it out!
3. Get more from your workout
If you’re one of those people who wants to stay fit but hates going to the gym, this one’s for you. While exercising in itself is a major stress-reliever, adding music to the mix can do two things: First, it can distract you. Second, picking music with a beat that matches your exercise rhythm will give you a better workout.
4. Enjoy the rhythm
Our body naturally matches itself to a rhythmic beat. When our ears pick up a musical input, it travels via the central nervous system to the motor nerves. This makes our muscles move to the rhythm without having to “try” – like a reflex. Let yourself loose and just give your muscles a good exercise.
This is also how music therapists help people who’ve had a stroke gain confidence in walking and developing upper body strength.
5. Making memories with music
How did you learn your ABCs? Most likely, through song. Music comes second only to smell in being able to trigger memories. The tempo and emotional appeal of music makes it a powerful mnemonic device. Learning concepts, ideas and facts are much easier to grasp and recall when set in tune.
6. Share some tunes
Music is the original social networking tool. It was how our ancestors bonded and shared their wisdom through song and stories. In the modern world, most of our music experiences are shared, whether being part of a band, singing during family celebrations or listening to performers at a party. This ability of music to pull together groups of people effortlessly can be a feel-good factor to reduce stress.
7. Sharpen your attention skills
At some point, we have all stopped doing whatever it is we were doing and focused on a peppy song playing. This is because music can catch and hold our attention. The long term benefits of music are that it can train our brain into targeting our attention and controlling impulsive behavior.