If you are feeling tense or stressed out, then music can be just the thing you need to help you unwind and relax. The daily buzzing of our modern world full of machines, ping noises from phones and computers, beeps from cars and horns or even just the sound of traffic can tense up even the most relaxed person. If you find yourself tense and stressed out, then music can really help you to unwind and relax.
Music is a beautiful thing, and a perfect addition to almost any environment. Music can fill a room, affecting our every sensory experience by adding sound. If you imagine a beach, and play different types of music in the scene, you will notice how much different music can change the experience of the scene.
Music’s psychological benefits have been well documented. Music is used in fast food restaurants to make people eat faster, its used in lifts to make people more patient, its used in dentists surgeries to make people relax and it’s used in restaurants to create mood and ambiance. So what’s so special about music that makes it so good for relaxation?
The brain responds to music and this is seen from a very early age with unborn children in the womb, who react to music. Some theorists say that we love music because the rhythmic motion reminds us of the mother’s rhythmic heartbeat we listen to through our journey in the womb, which is why even little babies seem to relax when nice music is played. It is thought that this relationship with rhythm is what makes our bodies so receptive to music sounds.
Music is also believed to increase intelligence by stimulating the brain, with classical music (Mozart in particular) being shown to increase IQ levels in adults and children, whereas Rock music increases violent tendencies! Music is a recognised form of therapy, often used to treat people with mood disorders: and music therapy is now also a recognised treatment for helping those with traumatic stress disorders or depression.
No one knows exactly why it is that music can be so relaxing. MRI scans of brains that listen to music show parts of the brain light up like a disco ball in response to the music, strengthening and stimulating the core parts of the brain that control mood and thought, and stress is just another thought process that can be influenced by calming sounds.
Perhaps even more relaxing than listening to music is playing music. Concentration and focusing on one thing for an extended period of time is the philosophy behind meditation which is a recognised stress reduction technique. The concentration required to play an instrument is very similar to meditation in the way the level of focus needed to master an instrument. It doesn’t matter what skill level you operate at, playing a few notes on a piano or strumming a guitar not only carries the concentration benefits, but also the reward of relaxing music to boot.