Easing off the day’s stress through music
By Olaide Osayemi
Music has a lot of effects on the human emotions, body and the mind. When a music with slow tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day, faster music can make you feel more alert and concentrate better. Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. Therefore, music is effective for relaxation and stress management.
Current findings indicate that music around 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat causing alpha brainwaves (frequencies from 8 – 14 hertz or cycles per second). This alpha brainwave is what is present when we are relaxed and conscious. To induce sleep (a delta brainwave of 5 hertz), a person may need to devote at least 45 minutes, in a relaxed position, listening to calming music.
Listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. Music is something that almost anybody can access and make it an easy stress reduction tool.
Types of music that reduces stress
A bit surprising is that Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes are very effective at relaxing the mind even when played moderately loud. Sounds of rain, thunder, and nature sounds may also be relaxing particularly when mixed with other music, such as light jazz, classical and easy listening music such as R&B.
Choosing the relaxation music that is best for you partly rests with you. You must first like the music being played, and then it must relax you. You could start by simply exploring music with different beats. Some may relax you and some may not.
Forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that irritates you can create tension, not reduce it. If that happens, try looking for alternatives or consult with Counselors for other musical suggestions. It is important to remember that quieting your mind does not mean you will automatically feel sleepy. It means your brain and body are relaxed, and with your new calm self, you can then function at your best in many activities.