Living as we are in the 'age of anxiety', it stands to reason that many would look solace from the frantic chaos of day to day life in music. Here Emma Sturgis looks at four ways in which music can be used to help with anxiety disorders.
Guest Post by Emma Sturgis
Anxiety is so prevalent today that many have referred to the time we are living in as the 'age of anxiety.' Even a brief look at the frantic pace and chaotic nature of modern life leaves little doubt as to why so many people are struggling with anxiety related problems. Amidst the chaos of modern life, many have taken solace from the detrimental effects of stress and anxiety in the arts, particularly through the use of music as a therapeutic tool.
How Music Therapy Relieves Stress and Anxiety
In recent years music therapy has emerged as one of the most effective and non-invasive treatments for anxiety. Recent studies conducted at the University of Michigan have found that music relieves anxiety in a number of ways. When a patient listens to music, researchers noted a reduction in cortisol production in the brain. Cortisol is the stress hormone. When there is too much cortisol in the brain you are sure to experience stress and anxiety.
Music therapy, as administered by a licensed professional, has been found to offer several important benefits including:
Positive mood changes
Enhanced coping and relaxation skills
Improved communication skills
Increased efficiency in conflict resolution
Create Your Own Music Therapy Program
Researchers at the University of Michigan and elsewhere have noted that anxiety sufferers need not always seek music therapy in a clinical setting to receive the benefits. Instead, those who suffer from anxiety disorders can instead create their own music therapy play lists for use in the home and throughout their daily activities.
Using Music to Soothe Anxiety
Music therapists encourage their patients and general anxiety sufferers to follow the following criteria when creating their own in home music therapy program.
1 - Listen only to music you find enjoyable. Music that gets you down or gives you a negative outlook on life should be avoided. Instead, listen to music that you enjoy listening to and that improves your general outlook.
2 - Find a portable music device or platform that you can use all day long. This is important because it can help you feel better throughout your day and even prevent serious anxiety attacks from occurring.
3 - Perform music. Performing songs that you love, whether you are singing along with a recording or playing music on an instrument, can really help reduce anxiety and improve your outlook on life.
4 - Analyze songs that you find uplifting. Find the lyrics to your favorite songs and read them over, looking for why they make you feel better. The song could contain a message for you that you can remember and apply to your life.
Music therapy, as well as counseling and other treatments you decide with your medical professional can be very beneficial in helping you soothe and cope with anxiety. If you’re interested in mental health, you may consider investing a counseling degree online.
When we are experiencing stress and anxiety, we can feel our bodies tighten up and become rigid. However, as many of us intuitively understand, music often has the power to loosen us up and relieve tension and anxiety instantly. Though listening to music on your own may provide you with many positive results, in cases of profound and debilitating anxiety working with a licensed music therapist may your best treatment option.