Music and Stress

Research has shown that listening to the rhythm of music helps slow or speed up brainwaves to that rhythm. Music with a strong beat stimulates the brain and may encourage more alert and concentrated thinking. While slow beats encourage the slow brainwaves known for the hypnotic or meditative states that will help you relax. According to a news release from Stanford University News Service, "Most music combines many different frequencies that cause a complex set of reactions in the brain, but researchers say specific pieces of music could enhance concentration or promote relaxation."

In addition to physically helping you relax, music has also been shown to enhance the experience of stress relieving activities like yoga and even eating. For those of you who listen to music while exercising, you have probably noticed how some upbeat songs can help revitalize you and give you the energy to continue your workout. If you haven't tried it yet, bring portable music with you next time and see for yourself. With the cheap ways of finding and listening to music that exist today, there really is no reason not to try to listen to music to reduce stress.

Tips on How to Reduce Stress with Music:

Choose the right music. Note your body’s reaction when listening to a piece of music. Does your pulse quicken? If the answer is yes, then that’s not the best stress relief music for you. Check for music that helps your body to calm down, not speed up.

Classical music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure and decreasing the levels of stress hormones. Even if you don't consider yourself a fan of classical music, it is worth trying to see if it helps you relax.

CDs that play the sounds of nature can also help you to destress. Plenty of stores like Target sell SPA soundtracks, music designed for yoga and other peaceful tracks.

Check out youtube videos with the sounds of nature if you don't want to buy CDs.

Calming music before bedtime promotes peace and relaxation and helps to induce sleep.

Singing or shouting along can also be a great release of tension.

To incorporate music into a busy life, try playing CDs in the car or turning the radio on when doing chores.

If you enjoy listening to music with lyrics, try to pick music that is upbeat and positive. Upbeat songs will help you feel more positive and optimistic, and reduce the stress you feel about a given situation.

Take portable music with you when you exercise or put music on instead of the TV as background noise when doing homework.