Music instantly helps calm you down. You might have experienced this, when, after a long and tired day, you tune into the radio and find your favourite song playing. You immediately smile and feel better. Don't you?
A burgeoning body of research proves the calming effects music has on your nerves. It helps relax you even when combined with dance or aromatherapy—the combination of music with relaxing fragrance lulls the body into a peaceful and restful mood.
Experts recommend listening to slow music when you feel stressed. But you can choose any music that makes you feel good. In fact, even the chirping of birds and the sound of water falls can help you unwind.
Research by the department of psychology at the University of South Alabama, USA, shows that listening to self-select music after a stressful event or day significantly reduces negative emotional states compared to sitting in silence.
Music has a profound effect on our body and psyche. Here's what it does to us:
- Research proves that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state.
- When music affects the brains waves, it also changes body functions. It causes slower breathing, slower heart rate and an activation of the relaxation response.
- Music can also keep depression and anxiety at bay as it helps increase creativity and optimism levels.
- It lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of stroke and heart problems, boosts immunity and eases muscle tension.
Make it a part
Just knowing the benefits of music is not enough. You also have to weave it into your routine. Since listening to music does not need you to actually 'do' anything, you can easily listen to it as you perform your regular activities. Here are some suggestions.
When getting ready
You can play soft music while you get ready for the day. This can set the tone for a low-stress day.
Play your favourite music in the car or listen to it when travelling. By doing so, you can avoid the stress that you feel when stuck in traffic or a crowd.
For some, cooking itself is de-stressing. Even then, when sometimes you find yourself too tired to cook, music comes to your rescue. Try playing some music that you enjoy and cooking will become a fun activity. This will elevate your mood and, in turn, help you enjoy the evening with your family.
Listen to your favourite music when exercising and get double benefits—me time and less calories. There are ample gadgets available today that enable you to do so.
When working in office
Get a set of ear plugs and listen to some calming music while you work. Research shows that this helps to increase focus and concentration, thus increasing productivity. [You will also spare yourself from the gossip that goes around in office.]
Sleep is the most important ritual in the day and listening to music just before sleeping enhances this experience. But listen only to soft music as fast and loud music will have the opposite effect.
These are just some pointers for you to begin. You can access the benefits of music anytime, anyhow and anywhere you want. But as the music plays, enjoy each and every note, let it run through your body and feel the stress being washed away.
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