Music has the ability to take us to a different zone by creating harmonious expressions of tones by combining melody, rhythm, and harmony.
Music awakens our emotions and calms the mind. Recently Music therapy has become the most popular treatment for anxiety, depression, and stress.
Music to the Brain
While listening to music, a neurotransmitter called dopamine is released by our brain. The dopamine is associated with pleasure and reward and it creates a sense of euphoria, just like the feeling we get from eating our favorite foods or indulging any pleasurable activities.
Research shows that music activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is a network of nerves that relaxes your body after an episode of stress. This activation can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, and in turn decrease levels of stress hormones like cortisol.
Music and the Body
As we listen to music, our bodies have an innate response which may include tapping our feet, nodding our heads, or even dancing. Such physical reactions to music can aid in the release of tension and promote relaxation.
Research has also shown that listening to music can reduce muscle tension and improve sleep quality. In one study, participants who listened to calming music for 45 minutes before going to bed reported significantly better sleep quality than those who did not listen to music.
Choosing Relaxing Music
Choosing the appropriate type of music is crucial in maximizing its relaxation benefits since not all music is equally effective in inducing relaxation.
Generally speaking, slower tempo music with a smooth and steady rhythm is most effective for relaxation. Music with lyrics can also be relaxing, but it’s important to choose songs with positive, uplifting messages rather than sad or melancholy themes.
Classical music, particularly instrumental pieces, is a popular choice for relaxation. This may be because classical music tends to have a slower tempo and less variation in dynamics than other genres. However, any genre of music can be relaxing as long as it meets the criteria of a slow and steady tempo.
Music has been used as a relaxation tool for centuries, and for good reason. The science behind music’s ability to relax the mind and body is clear. By activating the pleasure centers in the brain, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, and reducing muscle tension, music can promote relaxation and reduce stress. So the next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try putting on some calming music and see how it can help you relax.