Suggested Rx: Music, repeat daily
Research shows the sound of music can help reduce stress and improve your quality of life.
Guest Columnist Published: 6/28/2018
Need a quick way to experience instant relief from stress? Try music!
Music has a unique link to our emotions— its soothing power can change your mood in an instant.
“Every note of the music you love to sing or listen to brings you a step closer to reducing stress,” said Wellness Nurse Carol Thomas of the Y Healthy Living Center inside the Johnson Family YMCA.
Scientific studies aimed at measuring the potential benefits of music have found that listening to relaxing melodies or singing upbeat songs can trigger the relaxation response, lower levels of stress hormones, slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure.
In fact, in a review of more than 400 studies on music, researchers reported that listening to music may be more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety before surgery.
“No matter how busy you are or the chaos in your life, music can serve as your own personal soundtrack,” Thomas said.
Research has found that music’s form and structure can bring order and security during times of distress and can improve your quality of life. Music has also been found to reduce burnout, improve mood, relieve depression and increase self-esteem.
Thomas encourages her clients to use music as a back-drop throughout their day: “One of the many benefits music provides is stress relief in your daily life,” said Thomas.
Enjoying music during meal preparation, eating and cleanup is a great way to ensure more healthy meals at home. Too tired to cook? Try listening to uplifting music, which can act as a positive distraction and promote relaxation, which makes it easier to digest your meal. Who knows— with music to absorb your attention you may finish cleaning your kitchen before you realize it!
To help her clients incorporate music throughout their busy day, Thomas often asks, “What is the music that relaxes you the best? Is it the beat of the drums, strings, flute or smooth jazz melodies that relax you?”
Singing offers a great, robust release of tension. Other sounds that provide relaxation are wind chimes, fountains and the sounds of nature such as birdsong. Ocean music has been shown to enhance sleep.
Music has been used for hundreds of years to treat illnesses and restore harmony between mind and body. Using music to set the tone of your day can influence your health and enhance your sense of well-being. This simple, cost-effective wellness strategy offers the potential to significantly influence your health.
Carol Thomas is a Baptist Health RN wellness coach at the Northside Y Healthy Living Center inside the Johnson Family YMCA. Carol received her bachelor's degree in Nursing from Florida State College at Jacksonville and Gerontology from the University of South Florida. Carol has previously worked in long-term care, corporate and community health.