Everyone who loves music knows that listening to it regularly will provide benefits to them in more ways than one. It’s true! There are already a lot of studies documenting benefits of music. Music also promotes sleep, improves well being, reduce pain, and prevent depression, as stated in studies. In this article, we focus on how music can help in managing anxiety attacks.
Everyone feels a little nervous sometimes in certain situations or stimuli. In stressful settings, our palms become sweaty, excessive thoughts run inside our mind, and we feel uneasy. These feelings generally go away once the stimulus disappears. However, for those people with anxiety disorders, the symptoms do not go away immediately. Sometimes, even without a stimulus, people with anxiety disorders become anxious for no reason. A psychiatrist usually diagnoses a patient with Anxiety Disorder for which medications may be given or therapy may be initiated.
Studies on Music and Anxiety
Is there a need for meds or therapy? What studies out there prove that music can help? There are numerous studies that examine the relationship between music and anxiety. One of the most popular of these is “Music therapy in generalized anxiety disorder (2005)”. This research paper was completed by Dr. Enrique Octavio Flores Gutiérrez, M.D, Ph.D. and Víctor Andrés Terán Camarena, B.A. The results of the study showed that music therapy was, in fact, effective in reducing anxiety and depression levels in GAD patients.
How It’s Possible
What makes music so effective in managing anxiety? As music can absorb our attention, it diverts our anxious thoughts to focus more on the melodic and harmonious sounds. In fact, in a stressful situation, music acts as a more powerful stimuli that then captivates the person listening. In this way, the person listening becomes more relaxed. Music can also be considered a more pleasant stimuli and obviously, the better choice to focus more on.
Yes these results do seem convincing but do remember that selective attention is a skill. It is impossible to listen to an unfamiliar tune and just automatically feel relaxed. Willingness and mindfulness should both be present too. But all in all, listening to music each day does really help relieve anxiety and improve overall health. During stressful moments especially, we can feel our bodies relax when listening to a songs we love. Listening to music or music therapy can truly be to improve physical, psychological, cognitive and social functioning. If your symptoms persist, we strongly suggest that you consult your psychiatrist.