You know me by now, I am a pretty uplifted spirit, but also very anxious. Dealing with anxiety is no fun, but I decided to take it as a hidden blessing. Through years of therapy, and life experience, I discovered a few tricks that help me deal with it on a daily basis. I also realized that because of my anxiety, I have no choice but to take really good care of myself, and always be present to the moment.
Anxiety is a fear of the future, therefore the only way to get over it is to come back to the here and now. I do that with the Practice of Breathing, and now I have another trick up my sleeve. Rock’n’roll baby.
The science behind it
“Music very much has a way of enhancing quality of life and can, in addition, promote recovery.” – Lowey, music therapist
Studies have proven that music can act as a medicine to help people dealing with depression, and can also help to relieve stress and anxiety. When facing a range of potential stress factors, indicators of subjective anxiety such as heart rate, blood pressure and level of cortisol were higher for subjects who had to perform a stressful task in silence compared to subjects who were listening to classical music. Music, unlike other activities, engages both hemispheres of the brain, making them work together, making it easier to face life situations and assess them without being dominated either by your thouhts or by your emotions. You are therefore less likely to move through life as if it was a roller coaster, being able to assess events with a calmer mind to get a clearer outlook on the situation. It’s the best of both worlds: you are able to aknowledge your emotions, and then use your logic to make a decision that feels right to you.
Music could also improve our immune system by increasing our body’s production of the antibody immunoglobulin A and natural killer cells, the little soldiers that attack invading viruses. Studies also showed that music reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
There is even an app that helps you find the right music to concentrate. (Yes I know, there is an app for everything these days, but still.)
Vibrations to heal
Researchers are also exploring wether the vibration of the music, transmitted to the body, could help ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, and depression. I do believe in the power of vibration. If you have ever taken a yoga class and had the opportunity of chanting Om at the end of the class, you might have notice how this rooted and universal sound can have a great impact on how you feel. Taking the time to pronounce the three letters, a,u, and m, and then pausing at the end, we can fully feel the effect on our body and mind.
The funny thing is that before starting to write this article, I had no idea that music had this amazing healing power to relieve anxiety and help deal with depression. The idea for this article came from my personal experience with music. I’m not a big music listener, being very sensitive to all external stimuli, I find that music is sometimes too intrusive for me. I’m already talking/thinking/singing in my head much of the time, I’m not always in the mood to add on to the constant show going on in my head.
However, when I feel a bit low, or find myself having trouble focusing, I’m trying now the music trick. I create a soundtrack that will fit my mood, or change it if that’s what I’m looking for. If I need a bit of motivation, I’ll go for some dance music (who’s in for an Usher party?), or if I feel I need to focus, I’ll go with folk music (Ben Howard and Lana Del Rey are the best to create amazing communications strategies, I swear).
If you don’t feel like dj-ing, there is an app that helps you find the right music to boost concentration. (Yes I know, there is an app for everything these days, but still.)
Now I want to know. Do you use music to pump yourself up/calm yourself down? What type of music do you prefer? Please comment below.