14th April 2019
Stress taking over? Try Music Therapy
Some of you may already be listening to music whilst you revise. This can be helpful in keeping you relaxed. But there’s a lot more science behind what music does in the background when you aren’t focusing on anything that you may not realise.
Neuroscientists have identified specific effects of different types of music though measuring brain activity. One of the basic laws of physics says that everything in life has a vibration and the closer the vibrations of music are to the natural world, the more harmonious and relaxed we feel. With humans being made up of about 70% water, it’s no surprise the sound of the ocean or a bubbling stream can resonate with us.
When we are relaxed, just before we go to sleep or when we first wake up, or when we’re relaxing and just allowing natural sounds to wash over us, our brains create alpha waves. Studies show that alpha activity is linked to a reduction in stress, reduced anxiety, improved pain management and helps improve our memory.
This is the opposite from the stimulation we receive from being immersed in digital overload which can increase brain speed. Higher Beta waves (18–40 Hz) are associated with significant stress, anxiety, even paranoia. Gamma waves run even higher and although they encourage focused mental activity such as problem solving, a prominence of this wave leads to high stress levels and increased anxiety. So it’s not something you want to remove completely as it makes your productivity higher to have a little bit of stress. But Music Therapy aims to manage the levels of these Gamma waves.
When things get difficult at work, school or in our personal lives, there are lots of ways to try and de-stress. But sound therapy hasn’t really been a popular option, despite being free and widely accessible on platforms like YouTube. However, sound therapy approaches have been used for centuries to help people all around the world in remote cultures, to support well-being and reduce anxiety through lowering brain wave cycles to an alpha state.
One specific track created to reduce stress and anxiety is “Weightless” which is said to reduce anxiety by up to 65%!
Try sitting in a quiet place and listening to this track and watch the video if it helps you to stay focused and less distracted. Then feel the stress you’ve been building up melt away.
Thank you to Lynn Squire, Head of Sport, Leisure and Hospitality Industries at South Devon College, for the support with this article.