“CAN MUSIC THERAPY HELP PEOPLE DEAL WITH ANXIETY?”
This is one of the most frequently asked questions I receive about music therapy. And the answer is a resounding “yes, it can help with anxiety!” Here are the details (and a video!)–
Research studies have shown that music therapy is effective at reducing muscle tension, decreasing anxiety, and feelings of agitation. Plus, it can also help with the safe and successful release of emotions. The music therapist and client can accomplish these goals through–
- making music together (drumming is terrific for this!)
- actively listening to recorded music
- practicing visualization/imagery scenes to background music
- incorporating breathing exercises to help with relaxation
LISTENING TO RELAXING MUSIC:
- lowers blood pressure
- returns heart rate to normal range
- slows and deepens breathing
HERE ARE SOME EFFECTIVE WAYS MUSIC CAN BE USED TO COMBAT STRESS AND ANXIETY:
- background music for use during progressive muscle relaxation
- assisting in guided meditations
- a focal point for visualization exercises
- aiding in breathing exercises
- matching one’s breath with the rhythm of the music
- in conjunction with positive affirmations
- distraction from the stressful event
- songwriting about anxiety or stressful situations
- improvising music as a form of expression
The list can go on and on. And if you’d like to know more about how to choose relaxing music for yourself, check out my YouTube channel for a video explaining the process here or read my recent blog post here.
While music can be an effective way of managing your stress, it’s only part of the equation. Diet, exercise, and sleep also play an important role. And improving your overall health will help in keeping stress at manageable levels. So maybe consider including yoga and meditation in your daily routine. And always consult your primary care doctor if your stress levels are impacting your health.
SO WHY DO I NEED A MUSIC THERAPIST TO TELL ME HOW TO BREATHE AND LISTEN TO MUSIC?
So let me put it to you this way– We all know how to do pushups and situps and lunges. And maybe some of us jog around the block occasionally. But if you break a leg or sustain another kind of muscle injury, would you know the correct exercises to do (or not to do!) in order to heal that injury? You’d probably make an appointment with a physical therapist to help you out. They’ve been trained, and they know the clinical application of exercise and movement that will best help you in your particular situation.
Music therapists have been extensively trained, and we know the clinical application of music that will best assist you in dealing with anxiety issues. We’re able to choose and/or compose music that meets your physiological and psychological needs. And we know how to apply that knowledge to help you in the ways that help you the most. Additionally, you don’t even have to know how to play an instrument to get the benefits!
Often times, the treatment of anxiety issues with music therapy can be completed in a short-term series of sessions (3-6 months duration). However, your music therapist and you will decide the specific course of treatment based on your needs. So it could be a shorter or longer period of time depending on your particular situation.
If this sounds like something that would benefit you or someone you know, please contact me at 256-655-0648 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if this is right for you. Contact me anytime. I’m always happy to answer questions!