I’m delighted to be able to introduce my good friend, Shalu Sharma who has written this very special guest post. Please join me in giving Shalu a very warm welcome.
Classical music has many benefits including the ability to improve the quality of one’s life, induce health benefits and prolong life. In addition, there have been suggestions that listening to classical music has the ability to reduce stress. I have been an avid listener of classical music particularly Indian classical music and I have to say that music is a highly effective and an inexpensive means of reducing anxiety and stress.
Music has been shown to also reduce cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH, a hormone secreted by the pituitary in response to stress) levels. In addition, studies have found that music may enhance a variety of cognitive functions such as attention, learning, communication and even memory.
In recent years, many hospitals around the world have taken up classical music for their patients. For instance, the benefits in stress reduction of patients in intensive care departments have been observed when playing classical music, particularly music by Bach, Mozart or Italian composers along with meditational music. In contrast music such as heavy metal do not show any signs of stress reduction but in some cases it has been shown to be dangerous leading to stress and even life threatening situations.
Here are some interesting studies on the effect of music on the health of patients including its effect on theatre staff:
In a study conducted by Moris and Linos (2013) at the School of Medicine, University of Athens showed that music in the operating room had beneficial effects on 162 respondents (aged 25 to 75 years) by decreasing stress, anxiety, and the use for analgesic and anesthetic drugs. They even showed that the best music was of the classical type. They concluded that classical music in the operating theatre has effects such as reduced distraction, annoyance, and most importantly reduced stress and anxiety of not just the patients but also staff.
In another interesting study conducted by Laohawattanakun et al (2011), they showed that music reduced examination-dependent corticosteroid stress response, a physiological indicator of stress in Thai adolescents taking math exams.
These studies show that music can be used in certain medical situations that tend to induce psychological stress and anxiety. However, more research on classical music-induced relaxation in medically situations would be welcomed. Music can also be used in personal life as a medium to reduce anxiety and stress and reduce discomfort.
Personally, I have taken up listening to Indian classical music especially music composed by classical musicians such as Ravi Shankar and Hariprasad Chaurasi and it has helped me to reduce anxiety, anger, negative emotional stress and increase relaxation.
So, if you’re feeling stressed or finding a particular situation overwhelming then take a break from things and try listening to classical music. Some of the best classical music includes Tchaikovsky (Piano Concerto), Beethoven (Symphony Number 5 and 9), Mozart (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), Vivaldi (Four Seasons) and George F. Handel (Hallelujah Chorus). There is some excellent Indian classical music and my favourites include the ‘Jugalbandi Series’ of Pandit Jasraj and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, ‘Music of the desert’ by Zakir Hussain and ‘Raag Basant’ of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. You can also try listening to vibrations of nature such as sounds of the ocean or similar nature music which will have similar effects.
• Trappe HJ. 2012. Role of music in intensive care medicine. Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci. 2:27-31
• Moris DN, Linos D. 2013. Music meets surgery: two sides to the art of “healing”. Surg Endosc. 27: 719-23
• Laohawattanakun J, Chearskul S, et al. 2011. Influence of music training on academic examination-induced stress in Thai adolescents. Neurosci Lett. 487: 310-2
My friend’s its over to you
• Do you listen to classical music to reduce stress?
• How do you do you reduce your life stress?
• Please share your valuable experiences, thoughts and views in the comments box below.
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About the author
Shalu Sharma is the founder of YouBihar, the social networking site for Bihar and a travel blogger on India. She is also the author of the book “India Travel Survival Guide For Women”. She is fond of Indian classical music and practices yoga for stress and to calm the mind.
Photo Credit: tpsdave