Ways Music is Good For You and Your Stress

If you follow my Facebook page or profile, you know I love to listen to and share music in almost all its forms. Turns out that music is good for you. In my continuing examination of stress, I share some science behind the ways it is good for you. And I share links to stress-relief acoustics both musical and natural sounds.

Scientific studies of stress and cortisol show that relaxing tunes may reduce stress and reduce the time you need to recover from stress. Some studies show that natural sounds (rippling water) may be even more effective than relaxing songs.

Image of a wave of musical notes and the quote, “Where words fail, music speaks.” by Hans Christian Andersen--We've always known music is good for you

Historically, musical theorists concerned themselves with the grammar and syntax of music. We simply knew a relationship between melodies and mood and well-being existed. Ways to measure and study this effect are now available to researchers. And we are only just beginning to understand that music affects every system of our body. 

In my brief review of the studies I found there is no one study that has found the answer. However, the studies show that there are many ways music is good for you.

Brain

Studies suggest that music around 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat causing alpha brainwaves. Alpha brainwaves are present when you are relaxed and conscious.

Rhythmic songs may change brain function and treat a range of neurological conditions, including attention deficit disorder and depression, according to Researchers at Stanford University.

Cardiac

Medical News Today reported on a study that demonstrated the effects of music in combination with blood pressure medications. 

“The heart rates of the music-listening participants dropped significantly 60 minutes after taking blood pressure medication, whereas when they did not listen to music, the heart rates did not slow down at all.

Immune System

One study showed that listening to a relaxing melody before surgery causes an increase in the body’s immunity and reduces cortisol levels. (Read about the McGill University Study here).

In 2013, a study of premature infants reported that live tunes played in the neonatal intensive care was extremely effective. “Infants experienced lower heart rates, better oxygen saturation, higher caloric intake, and increased sucking behavior.”

Psychology & Behavior

A study published in Nursing Times that music therapy reduced agitation in dementia patients. Later studies indicated that this effect increased when the patients listened to songs from their youth.

Other studies have concluded that for disabled children, music’s form and structure “encourages coordination and communication.”

Listening to relaxing melodies may relieve depression and increase self-esteem in elderly people. 

Another study shows it can reduce burnout and improve mood among nursing students.

Intelligence

Experiments carried out by scientists at the University of California at Irvine found that students’ test scores improved after listening to a recording of Mozart, compared with either a relaxation tape or silence. They refer to this as “The Mozart Effect.”

Stress Response & Recovery

Some studies have found that listening to relaxing music before surgery reduces the patient’s stress. 

One particular melody listed below reduced study participants’ stress by 65%.

Songs That Works Best

Music enjoyment is subjective. You may have to try several styles before you find the one that works the best for you. Here is a list to get you started:

Many thanks to Melanie Curtin at Inc.com and the Counseling Services branch of the University of Nevada (Reno) for their music selections)

The Ways Music Is Good For You

You probably didn’t need to read this to know that music is good for you. But how music affects us when we are stressed is amazing. We’ll learn more about the ways music is good for you as more researchers complete more studies.

For more information about what stress does to our bodies see my earlier blog posts, 10 Warning Signs You’re Doing Too Much and Recognize Your Stress Levels.

Do you listen to music when you’re stressed? Please share a link to one of your favorites (only one link per comment so your comment isn’t marked as spam.)

2 thoughts on “Ways Music is Good For You and Your Stress

    1. Glad I could help show how music works for you. You current favorite is not relaxation music but oh, I love that soundtrack! Thanks for sharing, Jennette.

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