Does classical music help anxiety? Music therapy has been around since ancient times. In fact, it dates back thousands of years ago to the Egyptians. Music therapists use music to treat people suffering from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and phobias. There are many different types of music therapies including auditory integration training, beat matching, binaural beats, and singing.
Does Classical Music Help Anxiety? Yes, Classical Music Relieves Anxiety
Music therapy is often used to treat people suffering from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. But what about those of us who just feel anxious? A recent study suggests that listening to classical music could be one way to calm our nerves. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco conducted a small study involving 180 adults undergoing surgery. They randomly assigned participants to listen to either natural sounds, classical Turkish music, or Western music while lying in bed prior to surgery.
Afterward, the researchers measured how much each patient felt anxious, depressed, angry, sad, nervous, relaxed, tired, happy, and peaceful. They found that the group that listened to natural sounds reported feeling less anxious, less stressed, and calmer than the other groups. In fact, the group that heard classical Turkish music reported the lowest level of anxiety. This might sound surprising, since it’s usually thought of as being calming. However, the researchers say that the reason why classical music works better than other types of music is that it contains slower tempos and longer notes, which make it easier to focus on relaxing without getting distracted. You can read about how slower tempos have good benefits to sleep in this article.
Classical music helps to relax
Music therapy is becoming increasingly popular among healthcare providers. A study published in the Journal of Music Therapy found that listening to classical music could improve patients’ overall well-being. In fact, the researchers concluded that classical music helped decrease anxiety and depression while increasing positive emotions like happiness and joy.
In addition to helping people relax, the research suggests that classical music might actually change how our brains work. For example, it could alter the way certain areas of the brain are activated during times of stress. You can read about what classical music does to the brain in What does Classical Music do to the Brain: 5 Nice Things to Improve Our Selves
Michael Schneck, MD, is a neurologist at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. He explains that when we’re stressed, our sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear. This activates the fight-or-flight response, which causes us to tense up physically and mentally.
But when we listen to classical music, he says, our parasympathetic nervous system takes over. This slows down our heart rates and decreases our blood pressure. As a result, we experience less physical tension and fewer negative thoughts.
Schneck recommends listening to classical music whenever possible. But he notes that there are some downsides to doing so. For one thing, you’ll need a good pair of headphones. And you won’t want to do too much else while listening.
Not Just for Human
The Journal of Veterinary Behavior published a study showing that classical music can actually help dogs cope with separation anxiety. Researchers found that dogs exposed to classical music spent more time in a resting position and barked less than those who listened to rock music. They also showed that dogs who listened to classical music spent longer periods of time alone compared to dogs who listened to rock music or no music at all.
According to the researchers, classical music helps ease stress because it contains slow tempos and melodies that don’t contain sharp notes. These characteristics make it easier for dogs to relax and focus on calming themselves down.
You’ve heard that classical music helps reduce stress levels. But did you know that it also has proven benefits for reducing anxiety? And if you’re feeling anxious right now, why not give it a shot? Classical music is free, and it doesn’t require any special equipment. All you have to do is turn on the radio or open iTunes and let the soothing sounds take over.
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