Music Therapy: The Best Types Of Music To Listen To For Anxiety

July 30, 2017

“Music Is The Medicine Of The Mind.” John Logan

Anxiety is marked by a variety of adverse effects, including high heart rate, panic, higher production of cortisol, worry, muscle tension, and apprehension. There are many meditation, breathing, and relaxation techniques that can help calm down the adverse emotional and physical symptoms associated with anxiety.

Music can also be used for anxiety alleviation, with the added benefit being that music therapy can also be entertaining. Music has been used for many centuries as therapy for treatment of different ailments and for restoration of the fine balance between the body and the mind.

A study was conducted in the UK to find the association between anxiety alleviation and the characteristics and type of music. The study focused on providing comprehensive data on the features of soothing music; establishing which components of music, i.e., melody, tempo, harmony, etc., are most pertinent to anxiety easement and relaxation; recording of emotions that get influenced by hearing soothing music; and determining the music genres that are most ideal for relaxation. The participants in the study liked different styles of music.

They had to rate the music selection, report its relaxing characteristics, and jot down the emotions experienced when listening to the songs/music. They also had to report whether they were familiar with the music and whether or not they liked it.

The results of the study showed that those music choices with high relaxation ratings by participants were distinctively different from other music selections. The soothing music choices were found to have melodies that progressed from low notes to higher ones and featured a constricted interval.

This meant that those selections were harmonious. Also, such music was usually labeled as serene, peaceful, joyful, and sad by the participants. This meant that music needed to be relaxing as well as activate feelings related to increased arousal, for it to help ease anxiety.

Different research work on the beneficial effects of music on anxiety alleviation has found the following empirical facts:

  • The structure and form of music can initiate security and order in distressed and disabled children. It plays a role in better communication and coordination, thus enhancing their quality of life
  • Music therapy can help decrease distress and sensations associated with post-operative and prolonged/chronic pain
  • Hearing music via headphones can decrease anxiety and stress before and after any major surgery
  • Hearing music can help increase self-esteem and alleviate depression in the elderly
  • Emotional discomfort is considerably reduced via music therapy in adults with cancer. It also improves their quality of life
  • Creating music can help decrease burnout in nursing students as well as enhance mood.

Music choices tend to widely differ between individuals. Hence, only you can decide what kind of music is apt for your different moods. Listed below are some songs/artists that you can listen to for alleviation of anxiety:

Any song by Frank Sinatra
‘What a Wonderful World’ by Nat King Cole
‘Watermark’ by Enya
‘Twistin’ The Night Away’ by Sam Cooke
‘Sailing’ by Christopher Cross
‘Who am I’ by Casting Crowns
‘La Vie en Rose’ by Edith Piaf
‘Landslide’ by Stevie Nicks
‘Wish You Were Here’ by Pink Floyd
‘Glitter’ by Pink
‘I Will Rejoice’ sung by Mylon LeFevre and Broken Heart

Music is a tool to be used in conjunction with a method that helps restructure your thought patterns, change unhelpful behaviours, and restore balance to your system. So put on a song from the above list and get back to the good old playful days, when you didn’t have to check in with your anxiety identity to see if your fun behaviour was allowed.

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6 comments on “Music Therapy: The Best Types Of Music To Listen To For Anxiety

  1. Tameka Oct 9, 2017

    Enjoyed reading your article and the examples of songs provided to elevate anxiety. I might have to look into those as I am currently doing some research on music therapy.

    I came across this article in regards to addicts and alcoholics. Should anyone else be interested to see how this would help others here’s the page I looked at

    I hope this can assist with someone else as music therapy is very beneficial for everything!

  2. It sure is nice to know that based on studies, it is possible to experience stress relief with the use of soothing music, most of which were found to have melodies that progressed from low notes to higher ones and featured a constricted interval. I usually experience stress, probably due to working for long hours while having a limited amount of time to deliver the work. Knowing this, I will listen to music more often and make sure to listen to songs that follow the criteria that you’ve mentioned when it comes to the most effective form of music for stress relief.

  3. david scott Oct 22, 2019

    you forgot ‘Bob Marley’ 😀

    …in particular “Could You Be Loved” or “Three Little Birds” or “One Love” << this is real anxiety relieving music.