How To Use Music As A Therapy For Mental Calmness

Receptive and active music therapies are both being used extensively to treat medical and psychiatric disorders such as autism, dementia, schizophrenia, dementia, aphasia, and many more.

Intuitively we know this and research further proves that we are hardwired to respond to music. Our increasingly hectic lifestyles and stress have us reaching out to methods that help us slow down, breathe deeply, lower our heart rates, relax muscle tension, and lower blood pressure. App stores are awash with ‘meditation music’ apps. Receptive and active music therapies are both being used extensively to treat medical and psychiatric disorders such as autism, dementia, schizophrenia, dementia, aphasia, and many more. It has been proven that music helps reduce aggression, hallucinations, and delusions. In fact, music plays a role in brain development even before birth. Classical music and gentle sounds and melodies inspire happiness and thus have a soothing effect. Music therapy is used to treat emotional health issues such as grief, anxiety, and depression and address rehabilitative needs after a stroke, a traumatic head injury, or with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

A study conducted in the UK used hyperscanning — simultaneously recording two people’s brain activities — to study music therapists and their patients. It was found that the EEG recording clearly showed the change from when the client’s brain switched from negative emotions to positive ones. And, a few moments later, the therapist’s brain showed the same pattern. This is a move forward in the more effective use of music therapy and stronger therapist-client relationships. Cardiologists have found that Beethoven’s music closely resembles the rhythm of heart rhythm disorders. It is speculated that Beethoven transcribed his possible arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), amplified by his deafness.

Over time, music therapy has been fine-tuned for specific usage and populations such as young children, adolescents, those within the autism spectrum, and more. As more organisations work towards providing mental health and wellness support, programmes such as music therapy will form a part of workplace benefit to help employees relieve stress and control heart rate and blood pressure. Workplace stress busters may soon mean a music room, a guitar or two or a well-tuned piano apart from that ping-pong table.

If using self-practice, then use music to let go of negative thoughts and redirect your mind to positivity. Most of us have knowingly or unknowingly practised this method probably as students. Many prefer various types of music while others are partial to particular genres. In either case, choose music that matches your thoughts and feelings and then change to a style that helps build positivity. Be mindful while listening; pay attention to your favourite parts; if you like a line or a phrase, write it down.

Playing music in the background is also beneficial. The most effective types are alpha wave music, instrumental (especially stringed instruments, drums, and flutes), chantings, white noise, nature sounds, and music with relaxing sounds of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR; low-decibel sounds like breathing, tapping, and whispering). Many ASMR YouTube videos and playlists are available now. The best type is essentially calming and soothing. It should fade into the background and not be the main point of your attention. You can also choose to play such music in resting and waiting areas. Create a separate playlist for positive and calming music.

Different studies have found that workers performed better and produced more accurate results when listening to music than when working in silence. It has also been found that ambient, classical and pop music improve accuracy.

Music therapy is a widely available and cost-effective therapeutic method and should be utilized to generate calmness wherever you are.

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