Anxiety: a playlist to calm the mind from a music therapist
It may seem like we are living in an age of anxiety, where feeling worried, upset and stressed has become the norm. But we should remember that anxiety is a natural human response to situations.
It comes when we are not sure what is going to happen, or when we feel under threat. And even mild anxiety can have a negative effect on our ability to lead a productive life. It can interfere with being able to enjoy the simple things in life.
When we experience anxiety, our heart and breathing rates increase and many other systems in our bodies experience overload. Anxiety affects our general physical health as well as our emotions.
In my work as a music therapist, I’ve noticed the impact music can have on anxiety. For example, in guided imagery sessions, the therapist uses specially selected music and the client is invited to describe what they are feeling and what images the music conjures up. It’s amazing what insights can be gained from simply allowing yourself time to listen and talk about what you see in your mind’s eye.
These may be as simple as becoming more aware of how music can affect emotions, or be used to explore past experiences or future dilemmas. It can also be used to find a place of comfort and a secure base where physical and emotional balance can be found.
A recent experiment explored whether certain kinds of music can reduce anxiety during a complex task and concluded that some music is better at doing this than others.