Music is one of the most accessible coping resources. For most people, it is an important part of daily life. Some rely on music to distract them, to calm them and get them through tough situations. Some turn it up to stay motivated and to give them the energy boost they need to stay pumped during exercise or work. Some of us even have music playing all the time. When we’re doing laundry, preparing a meal, working, reading, cleaning, taking a shower, etcetera…
So, what’s the deal with music? Why do most of us love it so much? There’s been a lot pseudoscience, a lot of anecdotes about music. But, luckily, the final years, a growing body of research shows early evidence that suggests that music interventions can also be used in therapeutic and clinical settings to promote health and well-being. It’s been suggested it can alter pain thresholds, affect your mood, your immune system, heart and respiration rate.
The type of music
Different types of songs and melodies evoke different types of neurological responses. Depending on which type of music you listen to, it can induce relaxation or agitation. For example: slow, soothing melodies are said to have a relaxing effect. Fast stimulating songs are said to increase adrenaline production and boost your heart beat.
However, whether music should be considered ‘stimulating’ or ‘relaxing’ is relative. To obtain the desired effect, it is probably best to listen to music that reflects your personal preference. You don’t want to listen to a song that annoys you or sounds plain boring to you, right? Talking about annoyance, music is often linked to mood. It can impact us emotionally.
Does music do the trick for you? Does it help shift your focus when you’re anxious, sad or stressed? What kind of songs or melodies help you relax?