Music and Stress - Synergy Dance Outreach

How Music Eases Stress

How music eases stress and how Sing for Joy can help
Stress affects us both mentally and physically. It can show up as a feeling of being overwhelmed, having racing thoughts, and experiencing anxiety or panic attacks.

A multitude of studies have proved that music can effectively combat stress. While both classical and ambient music are known for their soothing effects, listening to any genre of music brings relief.

How does stress affect the body?
Stress has a biological effect that stimulates the release of certain chemicals in the body. In high stress situations, our blood pressure and heart rate increase, and our adrenal gland starts producing cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’.

In the short-term stress can help us to focus and achieve things, but when too much cortisol is released over time, it can be exhausting and create a state of ‘fight, flight or freeze’. Long-lasting stress can develop into an anxiety disorder, depression, or chronic pain.

How music improves stress symptoms
As well as stimulating positive emotions, listening to music, and singing are associated with better physical health and wellbeing. Singing releases endorphins (hormones which accompany pleasure) and improves our sense of wellbeing.

Through the use of functional MRI scans, a 2011 study demonstrated that music increases dopamine – the ‘feel good’ hormone – in the brain, affecting the same areas that process pleasurable feelings such as the satisfaction of food cravings.

An overview of 349 studies found that 68.5% of musical therapy interventions helped to relieve mental health conditions including schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder.

One study found that music therapy prevented burnout in operating room staff. Staff who listened to music were less stressed and felt less of an emotional burden.

A 2018 survey found that 62% of participants used music to help them fall asleep, these people were morelikely to have higher quality sleep than those who didn’t listen to music.

Music also played a vital role in improving people’s experiences during the pandemic. A survey of over 5,600 people across 11 countries showed that music helped people to cope and achieve their wellbeing goals during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Research has also proven that listening to music prior to experiencing a stressor yields a faster recovery.

For people with Alzheimer’s disease, which affects many of our clients, music can improve behaviour and cognition. This leads to improved quality of life and symptom relief.Finally, music aids mindfulness. It allows those singing or making music to become immersed in a cathartic activity, calming the distracting stream of consciousness.

How does Sing for Joy use music to ease stress?
We provide enrichment, pleasure, and stimulation for elderly people through inclusive singing sessions. We sing in care homes, hotels and at corporate and social events.

Our objectives are to enable older people to have fun through singing, gentle dance, and movement sessions. Other activities, such as memory recall, enhance participants’ health and wellbeing.

Our enjoyable singing sessions include a sensitive mix of Musical Theatre songs, jazz, sing-along wartime songs, national anthems, opera snippets and fun anthems like Bring Me Sunshine from Morecombe and Wise. We bring along props such as scarves, maracas, and tambourines to encourage audience participation.

Effort is always made to connect on a personal level with each resident. It’s not just about the singing, it’s about providing company and colour to an often-repetitive day.

We provide weekly sessions and often coincide with birthday celebrations or special occasions. We are especially experienced with participants with dementia or Alzheimer’s, people with mental health conditions and those at the end of life – helping to lift mood, provide gentle exercise and bringing a touch of magic to everyday life! Get in touch today and use music to help ease stress!

Find out more about SingForJoy.

Find out more about our charity Synergy Dance® Outreach.