The healing power of music: A therapeutic escape from student stress

Music has the potential to heal and de-stress, which can be incredibly beneficial for students.

The life of a student is often characterized by a whirlwind of assignments, exams, and extracurricular activities. The resulting stress can take a toll on mental and physical well-being. However, music, a universal language that transcends boundaries, has been proven to be a therapeutic escape for students seeking relief from stress.

Studies have shown that listening to music can lead to a decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol. According to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, participants who engaged in music listening experienced a significant reduction in cortisol levels. This decrease is associated with lower stress and anxiety.

Listening to music you enjoy triggers the brain to release endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. This surge of positive emotions can help counteract the negative effects of stress.

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Jennie Paquette, a certified music therapist and music teacher in London, Ont., said that music therapy allows for people to communicate through the music as opposed through words when people are unable to verbalize why they feel the way they do or what is causing the stress on a deeper level.

“As a client music therapist, it’s amazing that some music chords can make you feel so deeply,” Paquette said. “I remember bursting into tears just because I sang in E-flat and I don’t even know why the E-flat broke me but it really did.”

Paquette said she plays different chords according to the emotions of the client which assists them to let go of whatever they’re feeling at the time.

Music has the power to divert the mind from stress-inducing thoughts and create a sense of relaxation. Research published in The Arts in Psychotherapy suggests that “music interventions” can be effective in reducing symptoms of stress, especially when combined with relaxation techniques.

Creating playlists tailored to studying can also enhance concentration and reduce stress. Upbeat instrumental music or ambient tracks can be particularly helpful during study sessions. Websites like Spotify and YouTube offer a plethora of study music playlists to choose from.

Likewise, incorporating music into mindfulness and meditation practices can amplify their stress-relieving benefits. Slow, calming melodies can assist in achieving a state of mental clarity and relaxation. Apps like Calm and Insight Timer offer guided meditation sessions with soothing music.

Paquette further advised that it’s important to identify the music that makes you feel something and actively listen to it as opposed to having it on in the background. Immerse yourself in it even if it’s for 10 to 20 minutes.

As student life continues to be filled with academic pressures and responsibilities, it is essential to recognize the therapeutic potential of music. Backed by scientific research, music serves as a versatile and accessible tool for reducing stress. From lowering cortisol levels to triggering the release of endorphins, music can provide a much-needed respite for students seeking solace in the midst of their hectic lives. By incorporating music into daily routines, students can harness its healing power to promote mental and emotional well-being.