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Music is an international language. It transcends cultures, times and peoples in ways that can mirror the human spirit itself. Artists like Michael Jackson, the Beatles, and even BTS are proof that music is truly a human experience and doesn't belong to any one culture or continent.
People love music for a variety of reasons. Some people love making music, and some people love listening. Some people love memories attached to specific songs or genres of music, but overall, people generally just love music.
We have such a fond attachment to music that it’s no surprise that music is the first line of defense when we feel sad, upset, or even anxious. Whether it's sleep music before bed, sound therapy, or relaxation music in a yoga class, peaceful music has a unique healing ability that can relax our buzzing brains. But why does music have this soothing, loving effect?
Current researchers point to the theory that music might help us experience certain brain waves that are relaxing. For instance, when a person listens to music that plays at sixty beats per minute, their brain waves can actually synchronize to this beat. This produces what is known as an alpha brainwave. This particular frequency is associated with our natural ability to calm down and unwind and get ready for sleep.
Listening to your favorite peaceful tunes whether that’s Adele or Mozart is a great way to utilize this tool to help you get deep sleep. However, there is another method of music that can also help, and that is binaural tones.
To be clear, these tones aren’t exactly music however they do have musical qualities. This method of relaxation is achieved by listening to pleasant tones that are played at different frequencies. This relaxing composition interacts with your brain to produce a state of mind that is restful and calm.
Say for instance that the tones are played so that your right ear is hearing a frequency of 40 Hz while your left ear is hearing a frequency of 50 Hz; what is thought to happen is that your brain will actually create a third tone that is the difference between these two frequencies. This happens so that there can be continuity in your listening experience.
Research is still being done to understand more directly what the exact role of this third tone the brain produces is, however it is thought to be linked to our ability to wind down and fall asleep—making this deep sleeping music.
The use of these tones is still under research for its direct link to aiding sleep, however, it is generally thought to help do exactly this. It's your dream music for a good night's sleep.
While something like binaural tones can have deeply relaxing effects and be a great way to wind down and relax at the end of the day, it’s not your only option. In fact, music is such a universally powerful tool that it can be used in many ways to reduce stress outside of a meditative way. Let’s take a look at some practical ways you can use music to help relax and destress.
Playlist lovers, rejoice! Your favorite way to consume music can also help you relax.
The world is changing every single day and music is not immune to those changes. At one point in time music was something that you listened to primarily through the radio as equipment for listening to music at home wasn’t common.
Over time, the ability to bring your favorite tunes into your home quickly translated into music on the go through Sony Walkmans, YouTube playlists, or the original iPods, and now, most portable devices can stream music in some way.
Since the digital era, acquiring music has never been easier and there’s been a massive migration from buying specific songs to download to streaming music through services. Music streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Google Play Music all run off the same premise that people would rather pay a small monthly fee to listen to a nearly unlimited selection of music than to buy and own music for their digital libraries.
This has posed a whole plethora of challenges to the music industry as a whole when it comes to paying artists, writers, and labels for their hard work — however, the benefit is that it has allowed millions of people to enjoy music like never before!
One of the greatest advantages to this new form of enjoying music has been the invention of curated playlists. These digital platforms allow for mass community-style engagement around playlists either created corporately by the respective platforms or by people who enjoy the platform.
For instance, Spotify has been one of the main proponents of this community-based music sharing and is famous for not only being a mainstream music platform but also having thousands and thousands of playlists. You can even find playlist recommendations on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to create the perfect music series for stress management. Other sites, like Pandora, can curate a meditation relax music channel or a personalized yoga music playlist so you can effortlessly de-stress.
Finding a playlist that can help you wind down and relax may take some time, but it’s a great place to start. There also are so many different kinds of playlists you can really find out what you enjoy!
Music has several properties we’re still trying to fully understand. Similar to how a smell can transport you to a time and place that you used to know and that can be both a good thing and a bad thing, music can activate your nostalgia.
A composer that crafted the soundtracks for your favorite childhood movies may help you feel safe when the world seems a little too big for your comfort. Old songs loved ones used to listen to may encourage you when you feel like you are struggling to move forward.
Don’t be afraid to embrace nostalgic sounds and music as part of your process for learning how to de-stress. For some people this may be a powerful tool to propel them forward and help them feel at ease but it could be different for others. You can play your favorite album from childhood and let the beautiful music bring you joy.
It's not just soothing meditation music or beautiful nature sounds that can majorly help you de-stress. Sometimes stress from the day needs to be channeled somewhere.
For instance, when we are experiencing high amounts of stress throughout our day, it can result in pent-up energy that just needs to go somewhere! That’s where the benefit of working out and having physically active hobbies can really come into play. The mental and emotional benefits of leading an actively fit lifestyle are well known, and music can greatly help this.
Listening to high-octane music to help propel you into physically demanding activities can do a couple of things. It can deeply motivate you to keep moving; this can look different for different people.
For instance, some people may enjoy Metal or Stadium Rock to get a good workout or run in, while others prefer hip-hop, rap, or the rhythmic bass lines of smooth jazz. Whether you're playing basketball or doing pilates, listening to music can help to motivate you and keep you moving!
Another thing that music can do is give you a distraction from the level of difficulty. For instance, many people who do not train physically without music may feel lost when just left with the sound of their breathing. The music can form almost an insulation to the stimulus of working out that could help you achieve more than you think you can. You can find a beat that matches your heart rate, or even tunes for study music as you prepare for a big test.
Millions of people all over the world work from a computer screen every day of the week. For these people, their levels of concentration vary from job to day, however it is common to use music for the ability to focus and flow through the workday.
This is something that varies from person to person but it can be a powerful way that music can relieve stress on a daily basis. For some people, music without lyrics is a great way to stay focused on a project without getting bogged down. It helps to bring a certain relaxation to a project that otherwise wouldn’t be there.
No matter what kind of music you listen to, the most important thing to focus on is that the music makes you feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. For different people that can look like a multitude of different styles and genres.
The most advantageous aspect of paying for a streaming service is that you have access to literally millions of songs and thousands of playlists. This can provide a huge way to expand your musical tastes and give you the freedom to experiment without spending large amounts of money on music by purchasing it outright.
Finding out exactly what works for you will be a process of trial and error, however it can have great benefits!