Humans are hardwired to respond to music. Imagine watching a thriller film without a tension-building soundtrack—would it be nearly as suspenseful? Or imagine trying to lull a baby to sleep with a driving rock song—would it be nearly as calming as a mellow lullaby? Music impacts how we feel and function by triggering our brains and bodies to become more alert or more relaxed. This makes music a powerful tool for regulating stress levels and feeling calm during challenging times.
With today’s ongoing public health crisis bringing a range of new challenges, we’d like to share five ways music can be woven into your daily life to help lower stress, boost your mood, provide comfort and promote better sleep.
- Create a custom playlist of music you LOVE
Like falling in love or taking a satisfying bite of chocolate, pleasurable music triggers the release of the mood-enhancing chemical dopamine in our brains. And a recent study confirmed that listening to music you love will make your brain release more dopamine, elevating your mood. Put together a playlist of songs that make you smile, and give it a listen when you need a pick-me-up.
- Listen to music that matches the mood you want to be in
Many times we opt to listen to music that matches our current state. Knowing the power of music to impact your mood, try challenging yourself to listen to music that matches the mood you’d like to be in—whether it’s calming, energizing or geared toward promoting focus.
- Recharge with a musical meditation
Some people find a heightened sense of calm with musical meditations. Interested in giving it a try? Check out one of Spotify’s many calming playlists or carve out 15 minutes for a meditative break with this Tiny Desk Concert featuring the calming, atmospheric music of musician and meditation practitioner Laraaji.
- Give yourself an extra endorphin boost by making music yourself
Deepen the benefits of listening to music, by creating it as well! Singing, dancing and drumming—by yourself or with someone—can trigger endorphin release.
- Improve your sleep with soothing music before bed
Integrating calming music into your bedtime routine has been proven to help promote better sleep. For the greatest impact, choose slow music that you’re familiar with—ideally around 60 to 80 beats per minute. If you are looking for inspiration, check out Marconi Union’s piece, “Weightless,” dubbed the ‘World’s Most Relaxing Song’ and get ready for some zzzz’s!