“Music has been used for healing and medicine in all cultures throughout history,” says Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, a health psychologist. It reduces anxiety and may improve mood.” Music is almost always playing in the background, whether we’re in a restaurant or shopping. However, Mirgain offers some advice on how to use music to help you relax, relieve stress, and even improve your mood.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Some restaurants use music to subtly encourage customers to eat faster and thus increase turnover. If you’re looking for a place to hold a meeting or a private conversation that could be stressful, keep in mind that noisy environments with loud music can actually increase stress and tension.
- Use it to boost your energy levels. On the other hand, when you need to boost your energy levels – such as when exercising, cleaning, or giving a presentation – upbeat music can provide the boost you need. Consider listening to music while getting ready in the morning to get your day started on the right foot.
- Sleep better. Listening to classical or relaxing music an hour before bedtime can help you relax and get a better night’s sleep.
- Violent calm. Keeping track of your favorite music can help you feel less frustrated with traffic and even make you a safer driver.
- Develop your mental abilities. Playing music can help with faster reaction times, better remembering, and even improved alertness.
- Reduce medical apprehension. Are you worried about a pending medical procedure? Consider listening to music to help you relax. Putting your earbuds in and listening to your favorite music while sitting in the room can help you relax before a procedure such as a medical procedure, MRI, or injection. Inquire with your doctor about whether music can be played in the room during certain procedures, such as a colonoscopy, mammogram, or cavity filling. Using music to distract your mind, provide a positive experience, and possibly improve your medical outcome is beneficial in these situations.