Self Development By Mae Davies / April 1, 2016 Because of the fact that several studies have been able to prove the legitimacy of music therapy when it comes to reducing stress, anxiety, and aggravation, more and more people are realizing the actual connection between music therapy and stress reduction. They were able to see that music can really be used to lessen stress and other problems. However, what most people do not realize is that the relationship between music therapy and stress reduction has benefits that go beyond stress relief. Music Therapy and Stress Reduction: The Benefits Music improves physical wellness Music therapy can greatly benefit patients who suffer from a condition that inhibits them from moving any part of their bodies normally. These patients can include those who suffered from a heart attack or head and spine injuries. This is because music can serve as a distraction from their current medical condition, which will let them concentrate on the exercises that are designed to promote mobility. Music promotes the expression of feelings The relationship between music therapy and stress reduction is best illustrated in the ability of this therapy to promote the expression of feelings. By choosing from different types of music with different lyrics and melodies, people can choose songs that best explain what they are currently feeling towards another person or even a traumatic event. This will allow healthcare providers to apply the right form of treatment, which addresses both their physical and emotional problems. Music improves memory There are a lot of ways listening to music can help improve one’s memory. For starters, healthcare providers can ask patients to choose a song that they like and ask them to remember the lyrics or even the melody. Patients can then sing it back to healthcare professionals in order to give their memory an exercise. For people who are not receiving any type of medical care, making use of music therapy will also enable them to sharpen their memory. This is why music therapy is also used to manage patients who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Music promotes overall wellness Overall wellness refers to the total well-being of a person in body, mind, and spirit. With music therapy and stress reduction, people can strengthen their immune system and prevent physical health conditions, which can impair their bodies. This therapy can also make it easier for them to calm down from a stressful or traumatic event and help promote a better mental health. With this therapy, people can also meditate or concentrate on being self-aware, which promotes better spiritual health. Considering that these are just some of the benefits of knowing the connection between music therapy and stress reduction, knowing and understanding this relationship is important for everybody regardless of their age and gender. This will allow them to reap its benefits even if they are not suffering from a specific medical condition or even if they feel like the stress that they are feeling are not enough to merit a response or to seek any form of therapy or help. Choosing Songs for Music Therapy and Stress Reduction When it comes to music therapy and stress reduction, choosing the right songs is just as important as putting all of your effort into this type of treatment. Nowadays, this is easier said than done since the internet is full of lists of songs that can be used for this type of therapy. This is why it is important to learn how to choose the right songs. This can be done by keeping certain criteria in mind during the selection process. Here are some criteria that can help you choose the right songs for music therapy and stress reduction. Age According to certain studies, lullabies are proven to be the best types of music for infants who are undergoing music therapy and stress reduction since it naturally lowers their heart rates and anxiety level. For elderly people, on the other hand, classical music is the most recommended type of music since it can be very hard to find the right genres for patients who belong in this age bracket. This just goes to show that even though different people have different tastes in music and that preferences are still greatly affected by one’s age. Medical Conditions The studies that aim to discover the other benefits and aspects of music therapy and stress reduction have gone as far as discovering the possibility that certain types of songs can help people who are suffering from a specific type of medical condition. More and more researchers are performing experiments on the types of music that can help patients who are undergoing therapy to lessen the pain that they are feeling. They are also trying to find specific songs that can help patients who are suffering from certain mental health conditions such as dementia. Some have even developed charts that aim to help healthcare providers choose the right songs based on the specific symptoms that are being experienced by patients such as anger management issues and lack of self-confidence. Setting Nowadays, music therapy and stress reduction are used by other healthcare facilities aside from hospitals. They are now used in other settings, such as nursing homes, schools, and even restaurants. Restaurants often choose generic songs that do not contain any lyrics since they understand the importance of catering to the general public while schools prefer to use more modern and age-appropriate songs in order to connect with the audience. This is why it pays to think about the environment that you are always exposed to when it comes to choosing the right music. Personal Preference The definition of the term “good music” is very similar to the definition of the term “good food” in the sense that it is highly subjective. What you consider to be good music may not be well-received by other people. In music therapy and stress reduction, it is important to make use of songs that you consider to be good music. This just goes to show that you should always consider your personal preferences when making your playlist or simply choosing songs that you will listen to for your music therapy. Music Therapy and Stress Reduction Coping Mechanisms Despite being non-pharmacological in nature, music therapy and other stress reduction coping mechanisms can lessen or even completely eliminate the effects of stress in the body. Most of them are also very inexpensive and convenient since they do not require the usage of high-powered gadgets or medical equipment. However, there are still those who are skeptical about the efficiency of music therapy as well as other coping mechanisms. This is why it is important to learn why these mechanisms are so effective at lessening stress. Here are some of the reasons why music therapy and stress reduction coping mechanisms are very effective. The lyrics have a great impact Even though there are a lot of songs that are generally shallow or meaningless, there are also those whose lyrics are compelling for some. These lyrics may represent the emotions that they could not put into words or express in other ways. The lyrics may also explain the current situation that they are in clearly and in the best way possible. Hence, those who make use of music therapy and stress reduction coping mechanisms can directly come to terms with the causes of their stress or problems. Music stimulates the right types of brain waves In theory, brain waves determine the overall mood of a person as well as his or her activity level. Considering that people with high activity levels are more prone to stress, the coping mechanism that you should use must focus on lowering your activity levels. This is why music therapy and stress reduction coping mechanisms are very important. They have the ability to stimulate the part of the brain that releases brain waves that can trigger relaxation by lowering the body’s activity level. Since you do not spend all of your energy on activities that can only trigger stress, you have more energy to spend on more productive activities. It puts you in the mood for meditation Slow and soulful music has the ability to lower your activity levels and, ultimately, bring your body to a very relaxed state. Going to this state is highly advised for people who want to meditate since this refers to a condition in which you can devote all of your energy to meditation. Hence, music therapy and stress reduction coping mechanisms can work successfully with minimal to no distractions. Considering that meditation is one of the best ways to eliminate stress, making use of music therapy and other coping mechanisms can help eliminate stress both directly and indirectly. These are just some of the ways that music therapy and stress reduction coping mechanisms or methods can help eliminate stress from your body. This is why it is best to do your research on these forms of therapy even if you are not feeling any type of stress. This will allow you to prepare for the future in which you may feel pressure or stressed because of your job or other factors that you may or may not be able to hold. Music Therapy and Stress Reduction in Hospitals For many, music therapy does not play an important role when it comes to reducing stress in any environment since it does not have a direct effect on the body like certain medications such as anti-anxiety drugs. What these people do not realize is that official organizations and professional establishments, such as hospitals, recognize the connection between music therapy and stress reduction. Hence, they fail to see that music therapy is actually one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to deal with stress. Here are some of the ways that music therapy and stress reduction are recognized by hospitals. Music Therapy is used in Emergency Rooms It is common knowledge amongst those who work in hospitals as well as those who are frequent visitors that the emergency department or room is the most hectic and busiest part of a hospital or any healthcare facility. This is because they normally receive patients with the worst injuries or patients who are in the worst and most stressful conditions. It also does not help that most patients who visit emergency departments are suffering from stress and depression, which signifies that their problems are based on these two issues. Hence, the relationship between music therapy and stress reduction are best illustrated or showcased in this part of a hospital. According to a pilot study that was published in the Oxford Journals in 2010, it was revealed that emergency departments that make use of music therapy have noted a significant change in the overall atmosphere of the room or department. This means that there is a strong relationship or connection between music therapy and stress reduction and that this connection can still be seen in even the most stressful conditions. Hence, its efficiency does not solely depend on the level of stress that is being experienced by people. Music Therapy is used to Treat Post-op Patients Post-op patients refer to patients who have just undergone a surgery, may it be major or minor, and are currently recovering from the procedure. Oftentimes, these patients feel the most amount of pain since the wound in the surgical site is still fresh and new. Pain relievers are also not immediately administered in order to avoid untoward problems, such as blood or even lung-related issues. In the study that was conducted by professionals at the Örebro University Hospital in Sweden, it was revealed that music therapy can significantly decrease the post-operative pain that is felt by patients after surgery. It even goes as far as to claim that in some circumstances, music therapy was more efficient than pain medications such as morphine. This just goes to show that the relationship between music therapy and stress reduction can be seen in people who feel strong physical pain. Based on these studies alone, it is easy to see that the relationship between music therapy and stress reduction is not just a theory. Music therapy can actually be used to help people who are under severe stress due to postoperative pain, depression, and other health concerns. Using Music Therapy and Stress Reduction at Work According to the statistics that were released by the American Institute of Stress, out of all the people who experience stress because of their work, 48% cite their workload as the main cause of their stress while 28% claim that the people that they work with or for are the main cause of their stress. This just goes to show that feeling stressed during working hours is very common. This is why it is important to learn how to make use of music therapy and stress reduction at work. Here are some tips on how to get into music therapy and stress reduction without lowering your productivity. Spend a couple of minutes alone Even though it is highly advisable for people to talk to other people in order to relieve stress or to serve as a distraction, this is not the best idea when the interaction with other people in the workplace is actually the main cause of your stress. Spending some time alone will also allow you to gather your thoughts and focus on the calmness that music therapy and stress reduction can bring. This is why it is best to spend a couple of minutes alone before undergoing music therapy. You can do so by taking advantage of your snack breaks or even bathroom breaks. Choose the right type of music There is no use denying the fact that different people may like different genres of music. However, it pays to remember that listening to more mellow tracks is very important when undergoing music therapy and stress reduction. This is because these types of songs are scientifically guaranteed to slow down your respiration and other vital signs, which can help you become less stressed. Choosing fast-paced music is not advisable if you are working in a hectic environment since it can put your vital signs into hyperactive mode. Hence, you will feel more stressed even if fast-paced and loud music is your preferred genre. Learn music therapy ahead of time One of the main reasons why a lot of employees feel stressed is that they do not learn more about music therapy and stress reduction at work during their free time until they feel the need to do so. By the time that they realize that they need to make use of these techniques, it is already too late and they do not have the time or resources to learn more about this type of treatment for stress. This is why it is better to learn more about music therapy ahead of time. As an employee, you should always remember that doing an excellent job is just as important as making sure that you know how to handle stress at work. This ensures that you do not experience any type of burnout or that you do not end up releasing your stress and anxiety on other people in the workplace. This is why it is best to know how to make use of music therapy and stress reduction even if you feel like your workplace is not very stressful or that your workload is not affecting you in any negative way.