The Sound of Stress
So, what is it about music that has a nearly magical effect on our psyche? Studies that have used scans and measurements of other physiological reactions have shown that music can have effects on the brain that are similar to those that we get from sex or chemical highs.
Why? Because music has been found to release the hormone dopamine, which is one of the brain’s basic building blocks for feeling good. Ever felt chills listening to music? That’s your body reacting to a powerful chemical reaction in your brain.
Are All Songs Created Equal?
Music has been proven to be linked to your emotional state, but that doesn’t mean that a heavy metal song will have the same effect on your psyche as a quiet jazz tune. For most of us, this is intuitive — when we want to be pumped up, we listen to fast, happy music. When we’re feeling down, we might turn on some softer tunes. But beware: studies show that the music we choose isn’t just a result of your mood — it can actually shape your mood. The most relaxing music, according to these studies, is music that has a slow beat, no lyrics, and a low pitch. So put away your Katy Perry and opt for some jazz or quiet classical if you are feeling stressed.
I’m Feeling Stressed: What Should I Listen To?
Modern technology makes it easy to find music to help your mood. We can blame our fast-paced, high tech lives for much of our stress, so why not use it to help relieve anxiety as well? Not only can you download a relaxing classical song in mere seconds from iTunes, but you also have access to thousands of soothing playlists available for streaming on Grooveshark. If you’re more of a mobile person, then you might want to try an app like Relax Melodies or Anxiety Free.
Music is important to our well-being as humans, and it can have physiological effects as powerful as that of ibuprofen. So when choosing your medicine, don’t underestimate the power of music.
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