The Music Cure To Anxiety


I believe that at one time or another you probably felt the same as I about music. At times, and with the right music and under the right circumstances, I feel I can do anything. No doubt there is something important going on in the brain.

All through the Bible, there are verses about the importance of music. Music must be used to praise God. It's a method of prayer and worship and in Psalm 98 we are told that the entire earth should make joyful sounds to God. From the roaring seas to mountain streams, and even the hills with its windy valleys, along with every creature on earth should partake of a symphony of sound and power.

It's evident that God made everything with musical prejudice and the science is irrefutable.

Scientists have learned that when music enters our brain it triggers the pleasure center known as nucleus accumbens which releases dopamine, the happiness neurotransmitter.

This response is so quick, that the brain can detect and automatically anticipate the pleasure peaks in familiar music and prime itself with an early rush of dopamine.

There's evidence that music stimulation can have positive health effects on the body. Research shows that listening to music is associated with boosts in our immune system which helps protect against disease. Music has also proven beneficial as a therapeutic method for premature birth, depression, and even Parkinson's disease.

In 2004, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published a comprehensive report analyzing 600 studies noting that use of sound and light can influence how fast and how well patients recover. The results have inspired many leaders in the medical field to incorporate music into hospital settings for the care of patients. Promising results are being revealed in burn-out or adrenal fatigue, the treatment of trauma, common illnesses, boredom or restlessness, and more.

We're discovering today that the human body is finely tuned to benefit from music and although science cannot conclusively recognize music as a therapeutic technique, I would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't enjoy the experience of listening to music.

How you experience music doesn't matter as much as how you enjoy it. You can benefit from either playing music with an instrument or just by listening to it. 

To get the most from what is known as music therapy (MT) you must first address identify your current emotional state. Is it anxious, stressed, restless, or sad? Next, you want to reflect how you want to feel.

The advice from MT field is that change should occur gradually through a progression of music that first empathizes with your current mood and then slowly delivers you to your desired emotional state.

Keep in mind that every person is different. I personally go directly to the end result. So if I need to reflect on a creative work I play classical music, preferably from the baroque. If it's my gym day, I go for very rhythmic high energy beats, the kind that makes your head bob. If it's been an extremely busy day and my mind is off the charts with activity, then calm quiet relaxing music is the right prescription.

Once you have your goals in mind you can create music playlists to help you through the day. 

Memories attached to music are very powerful at invoking inner strength. A familiar piece with an emotional attachment can instantly energize, inspire, break the anxiety habit, and just make you feel great. The opposite is true also. Music attached to negative emotional memories can make you sad, depressed, and just make you miserable, so pay attention to your musical choices. 

Create different playlists based on the outcome you want. If you're stressed then soft quiet music is the key. If you feel anxious than any music that ignites happy feelings and thoughts is probably your choice. Follow this process for several moods you'd like to change as needed. Keep in mind you can add new music along the journey.

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