The human brain is hard-wired to spot a melody or repetitive tune within a jumble of noise. We gravitate to harmonious sounds. Our celebrations, rituals, and even our worship contains variations of music or chanting. From the beginning, almost every culture has had some form of music as a significant part of their social system. Whether used for storytelling, spirituality or socializing, music remains a vital part of our physical and emotional health.
Music and Your Body
The American Music Therapy Association recognizes music as a treatment intervention for various mental and physical disorders. Music’s therapeutic effects can strengthen the body and provide an outlet for expression. Research shows that music affects the human brain in ways that can change our mood and impact our health.
The immune system gets a boost from listening to music. More antibodies, the cells that kill invading viruses and bacteria, are produced in the immune system when music is played. The rest of the body also reaps benefits from hearing tunes. Music helps the heart, for example, because it can:
- Lower blood pressure.
- Relax blood vessels, which allows for more oxygen throughout the body.
- Improve the survival rate for people who have had heart attacks.
Music and Your Mind
Music also influences your emotions. Music reduces the level of cortisol in the body, the hormone that leads to stress. And because music can affect the heart, you can lower your heart rate, reducing your anxiety.
Although certified Music Therapists are available for treatment, you can also reward yourself with music therapy in your home. Here are a few tips to help you utilize music for your well-being.
- Make a playlist of soothing songs. Take note of which songs help to relax your mind and keep you calm. List them and download them onto a playlist. When you feel angry, stressed, or frightened, the playlist can be your go-to site for music therapy. Just pop on some headphones, lie down, close your eyes, and let the music do its job. Looking for ideas? Check out Billboard’s Top 25 most relaxing songs.
- Use music for the right occasion. You may like heavy metal music, but it may not be the best thing to listen to when you want to lighten the mood. The songs that power you through a workout may not be the same songs that you use to power you down for the night. The music that best suits the occasion might help to get you into the right frame of mind. Remember, music affects your body and your mind.
- Taste different flavors. Try new forms of music, instead of staying with the familiar genre you prefer. If you like country music, try out some classical piano. If you find yourself only listening to rap music, you can start listening to movie scores or musicals once in awhile. Opening yourself up to new experiences can help relieve tension, and music is an easy way to do so. Apps like Spotify and Pandora can expand your musical horizons with minimal searching.
- Learn to play an instrument or sing. Playing music and signing lights up different parts of our brains. Energizing your mind by learning music can reinvigorate you.
Music and Self-Soothing
Add music as one of the tools in your self-care toolbox. Another addition is CalmiGo. You can use CalmiGo while you listen to relaxing music. CalmiGo adapts to your breathing patterns, helping you achieve a state of calm. Just play some relaxing tunes and follow CalmiGo’s breathing feedback, and you’re on your way to tranquility.