Have you ever noticed when you’re listening to music, your stress levels seem to dissipate (or at least reduce), and you just feel better? As it turns out, there are many scientific explanations for why this happens, and there are also many ways to make the most of this response by “biohacking” the effect of music on stress levels. Today, we’ll tell you more about all of this and more!
How Does Music Reduce Stress?
Let’s begin by describing five ways music can help reduce stress:
Triggers positive emotions
Music helps to trigger the “feel-good” hormones in our brains, such as dopamine and oxytocin. These hormones are responsible for how we perceive the world around us, how we interact with others, and how easily we can manage stress.
Music stimulates relaxation
The rhythm, melody, and tempo of music can also help guide our minds into a state of relaxation by stimulating the vagus nerve — which is an important nerve that controls how our body reacts to stress and how it relaxes in response to stimuli—we’ll talk more about it in a moment.
Listening to music helps us become more mindful and aware of how we feel emotionally. This can be especially helpful when dealing with difficult situations or people — as we can use music as a tool to help ground ourselves in the present moment and focus on the task at hand.
Distracts from negative thoughts
When we listen to music, we often focus on how it makes us feel rather than thinking about the sources of our stress. Music puts us in a more relaxed state of mind and helps us take our minds off any stressful or anxious thoughts. Try to focus on the lyrics or the melody to get you out of your head and into a more relaxed state.
Increases focus and productivity
For some people, listening to music while working can improve concentration, helping them stay focused on their task without being overwhelmed by stress. Music can also set the tone for creative work, increasing motivation, and productivity. It’s helpful to experiment with different types of music to figure out which one has this effect for you. For example, some people respond better to upbeat music, while others may prefer instrumental or ambient tracks.
Provides an outlet for expressing emotions
Music provides an enjoyable distraction from stressful thoughts and can help us express how we feel and work through our emotions. For some, this is an invaluable tool for dealing with stress and other difficult feelings. In some cases, it may even help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Reduces cortisol levels
Finally, listening to music can help lower our cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone in our body. Cortisol is released when we’re under stress and can lead to physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and digestive issues. Listening to certain types of calming or peaceful music can help reduce these symptoms by lowering the levels of cortisol in our bodies.
As you can see, music is a powerful tool when it comes to stress relief, and there are many ways to use it as part of your daily routine. From helping us relax and become more mindful to providing an outlet for expressing emotions, music can transform how we feel in moments of distress.
How to Maximize the Stress-Reducing Effects of Music
Now let’s explore how you can maximize the stress-reducing effects of music:
Choose music that resonates
The kind of music that resonates with each person is unique. So it’s important to take some time to find out what type of music works best for you — and how it makes you feel. Perhaps you’ll find that soothing instrumental music is best for calming their nerves, while others may prefer upbeat tunes or lyrical music.
Set a specific time and space to listen
Setting aside some time each day to focus on how the music makes you feel can be very beneficial. Make sure you have a dedicated spot where you can listen to your favorite tunes — this could be anywhere from your bedroom to the office, or even outdoors!
Pay attention to how it affects your body
When listening to music, pay attention to how it impacts how you feel physically and mentally. Notice how your body reacts — does it make you relax? Does it help ease any tension or pain? This will give you an idea of how effectively music reduces stress.
Incorporate other relaxation techniques
When you’re listening to music, combining it with other relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or stretching exercises can be helpful. This helps create a more calming environment and reduce any tension you may feel.
Stimulate the vagus nerve while you listen to music
One inspiring way to listen to music is with vagus nerve-stimulating headphones, such as Xen by Neuvana. These headphones and the device it connects to help stimulate the vagus nerve, which is responsible for how we regulate our emotions. Stimulating this nerve can help reduce stress levels and put you in a more relaxed state.
Besides making us feel more relaxed, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) provides several other potential health benefits, including improving sleep and reducing inflammation. It can also boost your mood, reduce anxiety, help manage pain, and even improve digestion.
Rather than listening to music, you can create your own by singing, which can also stimulate the vagus nerve! The vibrations this creates in your throat target the vagus nerve, providing the same calming effects as music. Plus, singing is a great way to express how you feel and let out some of the built-up tension and stress.
Music has the power to transform how we feel in moments of distress, making it a powerful choice for reducing stress and improving well-being. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, try taking a few moments out of your day to listen to some calming tunes — or even better, belt out your favorite song! Either way, you will be doing something beneficial for both your body and mind.