There are many good reasons to keep music in your life, especially now that we’re living in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic. “Music has charms to soothe the savage breast,” wrote the English dramatist and poet William Congreve.
It’s true. Music therapy is a health care profession that has touched many lives with soothing sounds and rhythms, and has been shown through research to effectively treat the symptoms of everything from schizophrenia to post-traumatic stress disorder.
But music is wonderful for maintaining good mental health in us all, which comes at a premium at a time like this.
If you’re feeling stressed about coronavirus or your family is having a hard time adjusting to being at home more than usual, here are some ideas to reduce stress through music:
- Is stress getting to be too much? Spend a half hour listening to relaxing music. The distraction may help relieve your worries
- Let each family member pick a genre of music to listen to during meals.
- Teach each other a song. Pick a favorite and find the lyrics online (if you don’t already know them)
There are several ways music can benefit your mental well-being during coronavirus:
Listen to the Sounds
Simply listening to music is itself a healthy activity, particularly if the music is soothing to the ear and brain. Studies have shown that music can ease stress and anxiety. In fact, one analysis found that music helped postoperative patients reduce stress and require less pain relief medication. One thing to keep in mind, make sure the volume is not too high if you wear earbuds or headphones. Loud volume can damage your hearing over time.
Focus on the Lyrics
If you’ve ever sung in the shower or crooned along with the radio, you know that good song lyrics have a way of sticking with you. Not surprisingly, music therapists use lyric analysis as a tool to help them treat their patients. By thinking about poignant lyrics and what they mean to you, even emotionally difficult subjects can be dealt with effectively.
Use Music for a Better Workout
Music is also great for physical activity. One study followed obese teens as they exercised on a treadmill and found that participants ran longer when listening to their favorite music. One slight caution: Don’t sing along. Another study found that singing along to your favorite tunes actually decreased the intensity of the workout.
Sing Out Loud
On the other hand, singing is one form of music participation that offers health benefits all on its own. Singing has been shown to improve focus and concentration, and to decrease stress. Indeed, playing music of any kind on an instrument is a great family activity to do together.
Performing music has been linked to a wealth of health benefits, such as decreased stress and lowered heart rate and blood pressure. Gather around the piano or guitar (or karaoke video or machine) and make memories.
Soothe the Sick
Is someone in your household fighting COVID-19? Play some soothing music for them. It’ll help calm their worries and aid in their healing. Studies have shown a strong link between soothing music, eased stress and lowered pain response in those battling illness.
Whether you’re working out, relaxing, singing or just playing, adding music to the mix sounds great for your mental health and overall well-being.
Stay Healthy and Informed
Looking for an updated resource of coronavirus information? Check out our Coronavirus Resource Hub. The Hub offers important news about the coronavirus outbreak that can help you and your family stay healthy and informed.