Music & Health – How Music Affects Your Brain

Music can affect in your brain in all sorts of amazing ways. One of the ways we want to cover is music & stress, and how music is able to relax your brain. So, let’s get into it!

how music affects the brain

Music and Stress

Music has always been a part of all human cultures in the world. Through the years, it evolved and branched into different genres and adaptations that we enjoy now.

Music is a natural wonder as it can uniquely affect our mood and emotions. Aside from its entertainment value, it even has multiple physical and mental health benefits!

It is proven to improve the overall quality of life and well-being of the people. It can alleviate pain, anxiety, and even depression.

Benefits of music

For years, people use music to treat illnesses. Studies have shown that music can restore order and security to distressed children or persons with disabilities. It encourages people to be more social and coordinated.

Listening to music before and after surgery also reduces stress and anxiety. It improves patient recovery by alleviating both chronic and postoperative pain.

Furthermore, it helps people with depression and self-esteem issues. Even the process of making music improves mood and helps with fighting burnout.

We can see that music has many aspects that are advantageous to all of us. It is no wonder that healthcare communities are starting to see its vast potential for patient care and therapy. You should know that music is now considered a great tool in stress management.

music relieves stress

Music as a stress management tool

Today, people are feeling more stressed than ever. The Covid-19 has affected us one way or another.

It forced lifestyle changes and brought even more stress. It affected people’s mental and physical health and their livelihood.

People should manage their stress levels more than ever. We all know how stress can affect our lives and threaten our well-being.

It lessens productivity and could negatively affect our health as well. It can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, and mental disorders.

So how can we reduce stress? There is no more convenient solution than music.

Nowadays, everyone has access to a wide array of song selections. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to listen to classical music pieces to relax your mind.

Music speaks subjectively to everyone. You need to know what type of music soothes you.

Although most prefer slow and quiet melodies to relax, some reduce their stress by listening to heavy metal songs. What matters is its effect on your physiology.

Relaxing music slows down your pulse and heart rate. It lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress hormones.

Music is a flexible tool. People appreciate its use in stress management and treatments. Here are some ways people use music to reduce stress.

how does music help with stress

Meditation

Setting aside time for meditation is a healthy practice that you can follow to reduce stress. It channels your mind and gives you room to reflect as you start your day.

You can choose different kinds of meditation that can suit your daily needs. One of these choices is music meditation.

As its name suggests, it combines meditation with music. It creates a more positive effect as it uses two stress management strategies.

As you meditate, music helps you clear your mind to focus more on the present. It builds resilience towards stress, patience, and tolerance.

With music as support, it brings double the stress relief. It also makes meditation less intimidating to many beginners. Perfectionists also find music meditation a more relaxing technique than any other exercise.

On that note, try finding music that relaxes you and keeps you centered. Something without lyrics may be preferable to prevent any distractions, but it still boils down to preference.

For example, some people enjoy nature music with water, wind, or bird sounds. The goal is to quiet the inner voice and get rid of the anxiety and stress.

A quiet place is also important with this exercise. With everyday practice, you can face any stress that may come into your life.

how does music calm you down

Music therapy

Sometimes, stress can disrupt our everyday life. In these cases, therapy might be more effective.

Music therapy is a type of treatment that is already proven effective for those who have stress disorder. It uses music as a clinical tool to influence a patient’s psychology and physiology.

It uses guided imagery and biofeedback in assessing the patient’s condition properly. It is more of a science and can be a complicated treatment.

You should not self-diagnose casually and make sure to get an expert to advise a treatment plan. It can seriously affect your behaviors and functions. We recommend the presence of a trained music therapist at all times.

Experts do music therapies through sessions. Its goal is to reduce tension and stimulate the relaxation responses of a person.

There are also group sessions where you create and discuss music with a group. Group activities allow people to be more self-aware and teach them how to react and share emotions.

Music therapy aims to identify the triggers of stress and help you identify and express your feelings better. Like traditional clinical therapy, its goal is to help you live a comfortable and healthier life.

Daily Activities

In most cases, stress could change our mood and drain our energy. These symptoms may be mild, but if not managed, they could lead to graver outcomes. In these cases, incorporating music into your daily routines may be a good management tool.

Set up a piece of good alarm music to wake you up in the morning. This habit sets up the tone of your day. It immediately lowers your stress as you become more ‘ready to face the day.

For example, upbeat music will raise your motivation and energy levels. A slow or classical one usually reduces anxiety by keeping you focused and calm.

Also, consider listening to music while commuting. You may not notice, but road traffic and boredom during travels can contribute to stress. Music can help you have a stable state of mind, ready for any challenges.

You can also listen to music while working or doing some stressful activities to channel your emotions and release stress. Activities such as eating, paying bills, and cleaning are perfect situations where you can listen to music.

Studies show that music can decrease your cortisol levels. It helps you digest food easier.

Classical music, for example, helps in dieting as it makes you eat less. In fast-food restaurants, people play upbeat music so people can eat faster.

Cleaning is becoming an annoying chore when you are drained from work or have a busy day. But it is crucial to have a clean and organized environment to reduce stress.

Playing upbeat pop or hip-hop music can boost your energy. As music distracts you as you clean, you can be more productive and have more fun with cleaning. 

Music can also ease financial distress. It helps you concentrate on accounts, but at the same time, it channels your energy and releases stress as you go on writing checks.

End your day with good music. For some people, music helps them have a good night’s sleep.

Night music can also be a good treatment for insomnia. Remember that sleep lets your body function better and helps the body handle stress.

music and mental health

Creative expression

Singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments are great hobbies to pick up. They are also talents that you can share with others. It makes people happy and lifts everyone’s mood and spirits.

Singing

When you are enjoying good music, there are cases when you unconsciously sing along. This habit connects you to the lyrics and releases your repressed emotions. It helps you feel happy and more energized.

Tests prove that it indeed reduces cortisol levels and is an effective stress reliever. It can be done alone or even with a group.

Singing not only relieves stress but also raises immunity to diseases. It also helps you bond with other people.

Still, remember that this only works if you are in a comfortable environment. Otherwise, singing can increase anxiety and stress.

Playing instruments

Playing an instrument like the piano, guitar, or drums is also a great stress reliever. And it also increases neural plasticity. Neural plasticity refers to the ability of our brains to change chemically and physically due to learning experiences.

Playing or learning to play music brings you to a mindful state effortlessly. It stimulates the brain and challenges it while making you feel relaxed. It is proven to help people have greater memory capacity and analysis.

This hobby also helps you have a calmer mind. It refocuses your chaotic mind and feelings to have a more positive outlook and energy. There are many stories of artists channeling their frustrations into music and coming out better because of it.

Dancing

Dancing is another way to destress. Moving your body is already a proven way of keeping your mind and body healthy.

Powered by the soothing powers of music, dancing can relieve a lot of stress in the body. It improves a lot of physical and chemical functions.

It helps you sleep better and improve your state of mind. Even dancing casually to a tune can lift your energy and instantly reduces stress.

Like any other exercise, it helps you tone your muscles and improves coordination and reflexes. Dancing also puts some people in a mindful state. We can see this state of mindfulness mostly from professionals who have choreographies and need a lot of practice.

Conclusion

Music plays a big part in our lives. Sometimes, we use it unconsciously to feel better.

The perfect way to reduce stress is really to be more self-aware. Take care of yourself and give yourself some needed breaks.

Music is one of the easiest and efficient stress management tools you can use in your life. We encourage everyone to have a balanced lifestyle and improved health choices. With a healthier mind and body, you can enjoy life to the fullest.

About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!