Classical Music and Stress

Classical

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.

References

• 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.
• Please share this post on your favourite social networks. Thank you.

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

24 Comments
  1. Hi Shalu, and welcome to Hiten’s blog 🙂

    Good to see you here, and with a wonderful topic. 🙂

    Yes indeed, classical music IS therapeutic I would say. Although I don’t listen to too much of classical, but I do enjoy the soft instrumental numbers, and they work like a magic charm. But only when I am not working, which is so rare nowadays but when I do, I thoroughly enjoy it. A few of my favorites are Richard Clerdyman, Beethoven, and Mozart.

    I liked the way you researched matter for the post and they are proof enough that it does relieve stress, anxiety and keeps us away from so many other health issues. I remember you had mentioned how you enjoy music to remove your stress in one of my stress related recent posts.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend, both of you 🙂

    1. Thanks Harleena

      Music does wonders to your well being. Sadly not much is being talked about this and what is even worse is that music is not even utilised properly. I can confirm that classical music certainly helps. I do remember mentioning about music on your blog. In fact, I have classical music radio station on while typing this comment.

      Best wishes and thanks for commenting.

    2. Hi Harleena,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Shalu’s post!

      I was really excited when Shalu sent her post over for review, as classical music is something I don’t know much about. However, I can definitely see how it is therapeutic. I think certain types of music definitely are good for our wellbeing and this includes classical music.

      Indeed, I agree Shalu researched this topic very well.

      Many thanks for commenting, Harleena and thank you for sharing your experiences with listening to soft instrumental numbers.

      Hope you’re having a good week. 🙂

  2. Welcome to Hiten’s blog, Shalu! I agree that classical music can reduce stress, if we allow ourselves to be carried along the rhythmic ride. I also like zen music, which is what I play during my commute to and from work. It’s a nice way to keep calm, even if my busy mind wanders and starts/continues to plan. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this piece and the medical benefits of classical music.

    1. Hello Alice

      Classical music is great. I like the idea of listening to Zen music when commuting to and from work. I too will try Zen music. Thanks for mentioning it. I am sure it does keep one calm and prepares you for the day ahead. Thank you for commenting.

    2. Thank you Alice. I like your idea of listening to music from and to work. “Sounds like a good idea”. I think I might try out Zen music. Thanks for mentioning it here.

    3. Hi Alice,

      I think it’s great how you listen to Zen music when commuting to work and back. A previous yoga instructor of mine used to play this wonderful meditative music by a group called Namaste during class. I bought their CD and used to listen to it on the way to work. I’ve misplaced it now and need to find it!

      Many thanks for commenting, Alice.

  3. Shalu and Hiten,
    Thanks so much for such a great post about music. I love listening to classical music and love many of the pieces you mentioned. It definitely help me to relax and de-stress more than any other type of music.
    Thanks for the sharing!

    1. Betsy,
      Those pieces of music are all time greats and possibly the best music to be had. You just have to try and find something that you like and listen to it. Thank you for your comment.

    2. Hi Betsy,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with listening to classical music. It is great to hear how it helps you to de-stress and relax.

      Shalu’s post certainly has inspired me to get into classical music.

      Many thanks for commenting and for supporting Shalu.

  4. When I was in college I would listen to classical music pretty frequently. Those long, hard days of reading dry text books and studying relentlessly were very stressful.

    I experimented with a lot of forms of stress relief, including music. I can say without a doubt that classical music like Beethoven and Bach drastically reduced my stress.

    I’ve never listened to classical Indian music up until this point. But it’s really nice. Super calming.

    Thanks Shalu for showing me a new genre of music to relieve stress 🙂

    1. Hi Kevin,

      It’s great to hear about your experiences with classical music when you were in college and how it helped you to reduce stress. This is great evidence that this form of music really does help people during stressful times.

      Indeed, after reading Shalu’s post, I certainly have been inspired to learn more about classical music.

      Many thanks for commenting, Kevin and for sharing your thoughts on this area. Have a great weekend, my friend. 🙂

    2. You are welcome Kevin. Indian classical music does the same thing. I suppose its all about taste and which ever does the the job. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Thank you for sharing this wonderful music Hiten. I do like classical music, though I must admit my favorite sounds are from nature. I spend most of my days writing – either working on a book or a blog post – and prefer no background distractions at all. If I begin to feel stressed I either take my dog for a walk to the nearby park or spend a quiet half hour reading.

    1. Hi Marty,

      I’m glad you enjoyed Shalu’s post!

      It’s great to hear you like classical music and also how you like sounds from nature. It made me think of when I hear birds chirping outside. I just love this.

      Many thanks for sharing the ways you use to reduce stress. I think spending time with our pets is a great, natural healer.

      Thanks for commenting, Marty! 🙂

  6. Great post Shalu Sharma! Thank you Hiten for featuring it.

    Music has power because it touches our us on a deep emotional level. I’ve used music to generate energy and motivation. Thank you for a well researched post.

    1. Absolutely Dan, many people do not realise the soothing power of music. The effect on your mood and well being is amazing. I hope we can convince people to listen to classical music to uplift their spirits. Thanks for your comment.

    2. Hi Dan,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed Shalu’s post.

      The point you made about using music to create energy and motivation was very interesting. Indeed, the right type of music can be a powerful stimulus to change our states for the better.

      Thanks for leaving your great comment, my friend.

  7. Hi Shalu, I’ve listened to western classical and Indian classical music at different points in my life. Your post is a good reminder to have more music in my life. I recall the many positive and healing qualities of classical music. The music I hear these days may ultimately be creating more frustration and stress in my life. I too am a Ravi Shankar fan and wore out one his cd’s a few years back. Thanks for this post and the video you included above.

    1. Hi Vishnu
      You are right, listening to classical music can be great. It has great healing properties and listening to it frequently is good for your.

    2. Hi Vishnu,

      Many thanks for sharing your experiences with listening to classical music. After reading Shalu’s post and all the comments, including yours, I’m inspired to find out more about it.

      Indeed, even some of the music I listen to these days, probably isn’t very healing at all, and perhaps could do with being changed.

      Thanks very much for leaving your comment, my friend.

  8. Thanks for sharing this. Classical music is an infinite exploration into the mystery of sound. and is the next best thing to silence, and its benefits extend to the body and mind as well.

  9. Good article. I certainly appreciate this site.
    Continue the good work!

  10. Music is a medicine for the soul, classical music reveals many feelings: happiness, sadness, reflection, calmness, love. Music is inner life. great post.

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