Singing All Your Stresses Away: Using Music Therapy to Destress and Ease Anxiety

During my current clinical rotation I had the opportunity to attend one of the recreational therapy programs that the unit offers. In a group of about 7 patients, 3 nursing students and a recreational therapist, we were able to experience the benefits and therapeutic side of music.

Going around the circle, each person shared a song that meant something to them and then we listened to it via YouTube. As we went around the circle, it was rather interesting to listen to songs that meant a lot to someone. Whether it be a song that reminded them of their childhood, their wedding day or just a fond memory, the patients really benefited from being able to share them with one another and spend time listening to something that meant a lot to them. In a conversation I had with a patient later in my shift we discussed the need for the use of music, not only in the clinical setting, but in everyday life.
Recent studies that have been done provide a look at the use of music in pre-operative patients. Compared to other patients that did not listen to music before and after the procedure, patients who did had a significantly lower level of anxiety and pain (Landau, 2016). Music therapy is also being used in Alzheimers patients to aid in allowing for interactions with loved ones through dancing or by using music to bring back memories that would otherwise be lost (AFA, 2017).
As a university student or a soon-to-be university student, the benefits of music can be just as beneficial as they are to patients. On days when I’m stressed out or when I need a little pick me up, I often turn my bluetooth speaker on and listen to a playlist my best friend made. As a high school student I used dance as a way of not only displaying the emotion behind a song artistically, but also as a therapy for my soul. Being able to bust a move to that one song that just pumps you up or tells a story you relate to is sometimes all that you require to feel better after a long day. Now that I’m at school, I use music as a way to either focus on an assignment by listening to classical music or if I need to just sit down and make some study aides, I put on a playlist and get down to it.
It’s all about listening to the genre that speaks to you or the situation you’re in. Movies always joke about listening to sad songs when you’re sad but it actually really does help in making you feel better, research even backs it up. Check out some of the links below if your interested in reading more.
In closing, I encourage you all to explore the therapeutic effects of music in not only yourself but others around you.
Until next time,
– McKenna