I am sure that every single person that reads this has turned to music on a stressful day. Music serves as a great distractor, a channel for expression and a go-to for increasing relaxation. But did you know there is more that you can do than simply turning on your music and sitting back to listen? Allow me to elaborate.
Every person experiences stress at some point in their lives. It may not be too far fetched to say that everyone experiences stress at some point in their day-to-day activities. I know that I constantly feel the pull from the stressors in my life and they never disappear. Listening to music is a great way to decrease stress simply by lying back and relaxing, but I encourage you to take things a step further.
Singing for example, is a fabulous way to oxygenate your body. You are taking in more air than usual to support the phrasing in the song lyrics and you are also releasing built up tension as you exhale and belt out those songs. The louder you sing, the more you are releasing!
In addition I am an advocate for daily Drumming. Banging on a drum is a healthy and safe way to release that pent up stress. Some people like pillows, but I prefer drums. It is fun, gives you a workout, you can interact with others and it is completely safe and easy! Anyone can drum! Pair some singing with that drumming and you are most likely going to feel very relaxed. There are studies by Dr. Barry Bittman which show that 30 minutes of active drumming a day increases natural killer cells. These cells fight off and destroy cancer and other viral cells that are unwanted in the body. Did you know that drumming could do that?!? Something to think about!
These are a just a few examples of how music can improve your stress levels and help deal with built up anxiety. I invite you to think about the stressors in your day and how you deal with them. If you are using music, think about HOW you are using music and what more you can do with music to lower that stress. If you are not using music, I encourage you to try it. I do stress the importance of MATCHING YOUR MOOD when listening to music. If you are angry and stressed to the max and put on a soothing Debussy piece, you are most likely going to stay stressed. You have to RELEASE that stress and bring yourself down to a more relaxed state. Begin with music that matches how you ARE FEELING and slowly change the music to match how you WANT TO FEEL. This is the most important piece of information to the puzzle of using music to treat anxiety and stress!
If you would like to experience these benefits in a structured class, I am gladly offering a music and stress management class once a month at 2B Well Integrative Health Center here in Springfield. These classes are held the final Tuesday of each month from 7:15-8:15pm. In these classes you will learn more about music’s effect on the body and experience drumming, vocal and guided imagery exercises all facilitated by a board certified music therapist who is an expert at helping people learn to use music to benefit their health and wellness. For more information you can check out the following links: