Music to relax and release stress

 

Meditating man.




Definition of stress and its impact on physical and mental health. 


From “Stress | CAMH" (n.d.) a “normal response” to any situation or event that causes fear or uncomfortable feelings or responses on a biological level in response to danger, threats, and other issues that arise. These can give rise to changes in physiology such as galvanic skin response, heart rate elevation, adrenaline, and other bodily responses (para. 1.)


   - Brief overview of various coping mechanisms. 


As we grow up, we learn to cope with stress by watching our parents and family, and how they deal with it. And later on, we also learned from our friends and acquaintances. When I attended school as a child, and up through middle school, I did not have a good impression of myself as a destructive person. I was very cautious all the time and avoided danger. I became a very massive person with respect to body weight as I became an adult. And before having a few health issues, I reached 260 pounds. Yet I always thought I was a small person. I called it little man syndrome, sort of a body dysmorphia. 


I was able to leg press close to 1000 pounds for repetitions and I could bench over 300 pounds at repetitions. I could give other measurements of my physical strength. But I thought I was still a small person. I grew to not fear too much at all as an adult. I sought to suppress negative emotions, and my response to stress was to simply soak it up and not let it out. This led to a heart attack I believe. Dealing with emotions in my opinion is a lot better than holding it all in and not saying anything.


   - Introduction to music as a therapeutic tool.


Growing up through all years of school I was involved in band and choir, and as an adult, I would go on to learn how to play piano, and I sing karaoke every now and then still. I believe music is an excellent outlet for letting go of stress. I watched my dad go through some dementia, and I think it also helps relieve the stress of people going through dementia, even if they can't speak anymore, which was in my dad's case. Every now, and then I would sing for him in the nursing home, and it would completely divert all of his attention, and he became calm. I sang for my stepdad in the hospital recently, and he completely zoned out and became calm when I sang for him. Possibly because I'm just a terrible singer? I don't really think so but it's fun to think that way. Humor is another excellent way to relieve stress. 


II. Historical Perspective


   - Ancient civilizations and their use of music for healing (e.g., Greek, Chinese, African cultures).


Meymandi (2009) wrote in a publication on the National Library of Medicine’s website that music existed long before even the Neolithic man was to begin describing music in writing or notes. And that Sumerians left evidence that music was part of the culture (para. 1.) Numerous references to music are written in the books all throughout the Bible and Greek history, Opera as long ago as the 1600s (para. 2.)


   - The role of religious and spiritual music in managing stress and promoting well-being, with so many religions, include music as part of worship, and the monks were known to sing and hum with tones of singing to meditate. 


III. The Science Behind Music and Stress Relief


   - Brainwave entrainment and how certain rhythms can promote relaxation.


    Diogel () used several methods to record and observe blood pressure and pulse with respect to music, and its effects to reduce blood pressure and calm his patients, along with parasympathetic assistance (para. 6.) Release of neurochemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, and a host of other neurotrophic during music listening (para. 12.) Effects of music on the autonomic nervous system, heart rate, and blood pressure.


   - Music therapy as a recognized therapeutic intervention What is Music Therapy? | What is Music Therapy? | American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) (2005.) has a list of what music helps with including helping with pain, expression, dealing with pain, and more (para. 1.) I often listen to music when I want to deal with an emotion faster than just sitting there and being depressed, perhaps.


IV. Different Genres and Their Impact


   - Classical music and the 'Mozart Effect'. An article by Jenkins (2001) cites the “Mozart Effect” as being able to help people with spatial reasoning (para. 1.) Although I have never experienced noticing this about myself, I do think better when I listen to music. As a child, I remember taking tests in middle school. I think it was for spatial reasoning and I scored above the 99th percentile so I think I have pretty good reasoning in that space but I don't know about music and enhancing that at all.


   - The relaxing impact of nature sounds and ambient music. I do enjoy, listening to the rain and experiencing a calming effect from storms. I look forward to showers and thunderstorms as well. 


   - Jazz, blues, and their emotional catharsis. I've never truly enjoyed jazz and blues, Eileen, more towards speed metal, country, and music by Frank Sinatra, Blake Shelton, and a large amount of music from the 50’s through the 90’s. 


   - Chants, hymns, and the power of vocal harmonies. I've listened to Gregorian monk chants quite often and very much enjoy meditating to that type of music.


V. Personalized Music Playlists


   - The importance of individual musical preferences. I've used Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, I am probably a large number of music players or programs to categorize music that I can't remember. Playlist, Sarah, favorite thing, but I like to curate for myself. I use some of the lists to practice songs that I might like to sing for karaoke. Music definitely distresses me.


Fairchild (2022) wrote an article describing how personalized lists helped people experiencing dementia, saying it “activates the whole brain” (para. 5.) I witnessed my dad's eyes light up when I would sing with him, and he murdered a few words where he could not speak otherwise, but I was singing. And my stepdad tended to settle down when I sang for him. The song I sang, for my stepdad was “Luck Be a Lady” by Frank Sinatra. 


I believe music can help each and every person on the planet to some extent. I've also heard that some people with autism or Asperger's are also helped by the constant rhythms and repetition of music. Additionally, I've heard that babies in the womb are also affected before birth, by having music played for them. I hold firm with the belief that I will listen to music. Every chance I can get till the day I I'm no longer with us. 


References

Fairchild, L. (2022). Personalized playlists improve quality of life with dementia - Seasons. Seasons. Retrieved October 04, 2023 from https://www.seasons.com/the-power-of-music-personalized-playlists-can-improve-quality-of-life-for-those-with-dementia/2623197/

Jenkins, J. S. (2001). The Mozart effect - PMC. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 94(4), 170. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1281386/

Meymandi, A. (2009). Music, Medicine, Healing, and the Genome Project - PMC. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 6(9), 43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2766288

Stress | CAMH. (n.d.). CAMH. https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/stress

What is Music Therapy? | What is Music Therapy? | American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). (2005.). Retrieved October 04, 2023 from https://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/

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