Benefits of music therapy for stress and anxiety

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The benefits of music therapy include helping reduce stress and anxiety in all types of people, including patients in hospitals.

Benefits of music therapy- a mock-up photo of John Lennon, acting as a therapist to a man lying down on a couch, explaining how music therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety.
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©Music Heals - La Metro 88.5 FM / Behance Creative Commons

Benefits of music therapy for stress and anxiety


The benefits of music therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety in all types of people, including patients in hospitals being treated for chronic illnesses. Songs allow you, and those around you, help to calm your nervous system, relax and heal your soul.

Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship.

Bob Huffman, who has been a music therapist at Michigan Medicine for over 15 years, feels that whether he’s working directly with a patient or in a larger setting with caregivers, family members, or staff, music is healing.

“I often position my guitar so that the sound is projecting all over them, covering them with sound. I feel there is healing through vibration happening, even though that’s a whole separate field,” said Huffman.

“Music therapy brings up memories. It takes us back to places and times that we remember fondly. And it's healing in that way. ”

Bob Huffman



While it might not be a physical treatment, the benefits of music therapy include helping reduce stress and anxiety. It can bring comfort to those in distress. Huffman says the benefit of music is due to its enormous presence in our lives.

“It brings up memories. It takes us back to places and times that we remember fondly. And it’s healing in that way. Music has a way to let us express our feelings and emotions where sometimes words fall short,” he explains.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in intensive care rooms with family members, as well as the patient, and I’ll be playing and all of a sudden I’ll see tears start pouring down the faces of family members. I know that it’s the music that’s allowed them to express those intense feelings at this time where words may have been awkward.”

While it might not be a physical treatment, the benefits of music therapy include helping reduce stress and anxiety Click To Tweet

Peter Carpenter, who’s been with the Univesity of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center for the last four years, says these followings tips can help you take advantage of the positive effects of music therapy to improve your health:

Listen with a purpose. When you’re anxious or worried, use music to redirect those thoughts and feelings.

Match your mood. When you notice your mood is low, listen to music that first matches how you feel. Next, pick songs that change your mood over time.

Start a music journal. Journaling is a process that collects thoughts and feelings. By writing down those feelings, you can improve focus on the now rather than worry or pain.

Listen to something new. Listening to new music can activate your mind in a productive and interesting way. You could even try to find new things in familiar songs. Did you notice something about the words or the background singers? Really try to make every song new again to you.

Try something new. Pull out that guitar or ukulele from under your bed and learn a new skill. Trying something new can energize and motivate you.

Talk to a music therapist. Music therapists are there to support you as experts on how to use music to accomplish any of your goals.

And although working with a music therapist has many benefits, both Carpenter and Huffman say all you really need to do to experience the benefits of music therapy is listen, which can help ease those feeling stress and anxiety.

Six Proven Benefits of Music Therapy

  • Music therapy reduces anxiety and physical effects of stress
  • It improves healing
  • It can help manage Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Music therapy reduces depression and other symptoms in the elderly
  • It helps to reduce symptoms of psychological disorders including schizophrenia
  • Music therapy improves self-expression and communication

Jillian Levy, CHHC

Caption:

Just listen to hear the benefits of music therapy

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