Let the Music Carry Your Stress Away

Life can get stressful sometimes. Work deadlines, family obligations, financial pressures – it often feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. When stress levels rise, it’s important to intentionally carve out time for self-care. One excellent way to relieve stress and promote mental wellbeing is through music.

Research has shown that listening to music has a powerful positive impact on our brains and bodies. When we hear our favorite melodies, our brains release dopamine – the “feel good” neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. Listening to music triggers the release of serotonin as well, the chemical responsible for boosting mood. Music also decreases the stress hormone cortisol, leaving us feeling calmer and more relaxed.

In addition to chemical reactions in the brain, music impacts us on a physical level too. Slow tempo compositions can bring down heart rate and blood pressure, lulling the body into a tranquil state. Faster paced, lively music gets us energized and motivated. Singing along stimulates deep breathing – a technique mindfulness experts recommend to ease anxiety. Dancing freely releases muscle tension we may not have realized we were carrying.

With so many perks for both mind and body, it’s no wonder that turning on the tunes is an instant mood booster for most of us. Here are some suggestions for musical self-care when you need to de-stress:

Keep a unwind playlist – Compile your favorite chill songs onto a playlist you can pull up when feeling overwhelmed. Songs with slower tempos around 50-70 beats per minute are ideal for promoting relaxation.

Listen while you commute – Make your drives more peaceful by playing calming music in the car. Use this time to decompress after a long day before getting home.

Set the mood – Play some relaxing background music as you’re winding down for bed. Instrumentals and nature sounds can help lull you into a restful sleep.

Dance break – Blasting an upbeat playlist gives you permission to dance it out when life feels stressful! Shaking your body for a few minutes releases feel-good endorphins.

Try a drum circle – Attending group drumming events combines the benefits of music, community, and movement. Keeping a shared beat is meditative.

Instrument inspiration – Learning to play an instrument like guitar, piano, or ukulele provides an outlet for creative expression. Practice becoming one with the music.

Concert therapy – Seeing a favorite musician perform live is thrilling. Let yourself get lost in the music and soak up the collective energy of the crowd.

Musical meditation – Some forms of meditation incorporate singing bowls, chimes, or mantras put to melody. These tools enhance focus and calm.

Sound bath – Lie back and relax as instruments like crystal bowls, gongs, chimes, and tibetan bells are played during this immersive musical experience.

Nature’s soundtrack – Take a mindful walk while listening to nature-inspired music or sounds of the ocean. Feel more connected to the beauty around you.

No matter your musical preferences, there are countless ways to harness the power of music for stress relief and self-care. Keep exploring new genres, artists, and musical experiences. Allow the songs you love to wash your stress away and put your body, mind and soul at ease. Because sometimes the best medicine is simply letting the music carry you away.