Music and Stress



During the first week of my self change project I monitored my stress
levels and the way music effected the mental and physical aspects of stress.
From monitoring this properly, I found that listening to music pleasing to me at
the specifically different times I experienced stress did help reduce my
internal feelings and physical changes. In carefully studying the various types
of stress experienced I concluded that certain types of music more effectively
reduced my stress and anxiety levels. The following paragraphs explain further
the types of stress felt and the music that assisted in subsiding the symptoms
of stress.
Stress can be felt in several different forms, included here are the
following ways I experienced stress. This step was found to be particularly
important in past studies to learn specific Œstress styles\' and most
importantly, what music reduced what symptoms of stress. There are six separate
forms of stress that can be experienced. These are symptomatic in physical,
behavioral, emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and relational aspects.
Physical symptoms I personally experienced were: headaches
(specifically tension headaches), nausea, dizziness, sleep difficulties, tight
neck and shoulders, racing heart, trembling hands, and restlessness.
Behavioral symptoms I felt were: a definite excess in smoking, bossiness
towards others, compulsive gum chewing, I became critical of others, grinding of
my teeth so hard that I am forced to wear a mouthpiece at night, and an
inability to finish what I start. Some of the emotional symptoms included:
crying, anxiety,nervousness, boredom, edginess, overwhelming sense of pressure,
overwhelming anger, being unhappy for no reason, and very testy. Cognitive
symptoms that I felt were: trouble thinking clearly, forgetfulness, writers
block, long-term memory loss, inability to make decisions, and constant
excessive worry. Spiritual aspects of stress that I felt: doubt, unforgiving,
apathy, and a strong feeling for the need to prove myself. Examples of
relational symptoms included: isolation, intolerance, resentment, clamming up,
nagging/whining, distrust,and less contact with friends.
The importance of identifying interpersonal feelings helps with deciding
what music would be most effective in reducing stress. Here are my findings
for different types of stress:
For most physical symptoms, I found that a calming music worked best
these CD\'s give a good example of calming, relaxing music (from my collection):
Enya, The Vienna Boy\'s Choir, Collage (A compilation of classical works proven
in a psychologically monitored project found to greatly reduce anxiety. They
are collections that are popping up at several doctor office waiting areas to
calm the patients.), Sarah McLachlan, and the Moscow Boy\'s Choir. For
behavioral aspects of stress, I found that listening to music with a Œsing-a-
long\' interface worked best. I concluded that this was for the following
reasons: A. it kept my mouth busy, and B. it kept my mind off the overhead of
stress. Good examples of Œsing-a-long\' songs are ones from soundtracks such as
Grease, Footloose, even Disney soundtracks were fun and kept me singing. For
part of the emotional symptoms I would listen to calming music and the other
part I would listen to fast paced music that expressed how I felt at that
particular time. For example, when felt like crying, I found it best to listen
to depressing music because the act of crying actually is a form of expression
that can build up as easily as anger and can help you feel a great sense of
release when you do cry. For the anger/edginess aspect I found that listening
to fast-paced music such as Nine Inch Nails and Hole helped me to get the anger
or other emotion out. I did get confused when studying cognitive, spiritual,
and relational Œstress styles\', however, I found that relaxing music such as
classical, incorporated with stress reducing techniques such as meditation
greatly lowered my levels of stress.
Throughout the duration of my self-change project I found that social
support was virtually nilche. This was an independent study of my feelings and
the actions I took my alleviate my feelings, not anyone else\'s. Stress styles
and music for reducing the symptoms are extremely individual. I also found that
there was no specific time of music listening required due to the simple fact
that stress and emotions are so variable. Listening to a set time of specific
music daily would frustrate me more that anything due to the fact that it would
just be one more thing to add to my already stressful life and, again, because
of the variation. A good comparison would be that of music to medicine. If you
have an upset stomach, you take a medicine suitable to your symptoms, you
wouldn\'t take an antihistamine, and so forth....
My current status