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How to use music to reduce or stress levels:listening to relieve tension

Updated on June 19, 2013
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There is no denying the soothing power that music has to shape our minds and give us calming energy. Music generates links to our emotions that we have never before explored, allows us to touch base with ourselves and and feel just a bit better after a stressful day. Music is a wonderful tool for stress management.

What makes music so accessible in this regard is its flexibility. You can decide which music suits you or is able to loosen an uptight mood. People deal with anger by listening to heavy metal, some others to slow, new age pieces.

Whatever the musical tastes, music has many benefits. In this article, I will highlight some of the benefits that it has, some research findings on the proven power of music and show how it can be used to alleviate stress.

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What are the benefits of music?

Music has a way of telling us to relax and get our bodies to take some needed time off. It is already proven in the way people the world over listen to it. So what good can music do for us?

Music relaxes our minds and bodies

Soothing music relaxes the mind and reduces the amount of stress you feel. Relaxation music calms a person down and helps him or her connect with their inner peace. Doing so leads to improved health. It significantly reduces tension and decreases heart rates.

Music allows us to think more clearly.

Music acts as a distraction and allows us to explore our emotions. It helps us to keep our minds from wandering and hence think more clearly.

Music helps to restore order in the mind!

Ever had one of those days when you really had no idea how to get started on the many tasks you have on hand? It is a familiar scenario for all. Listening to a piece of calming music helps us to bring our minds back from chaos and restore a little order, helping us to sort the many things we have going on in our heads.

Music induces sleep

A piece of calming music can be better than medication for inducing sleep. Leaving a piece of calming music on throughout the night helps one to get the relaxing, much needed sleep that one needs.

Music releases tension.

Have you ever seen the movies where the frustrated protagonist relieves his anger by having a great shout?

Yes, singing and shouting has a way of relieving the stress and pent up tension of the day!! It is why karaoke is a source of enjoyment for many extroverts!!

Music increases productivity.

Music decreases stress and as we know, productivity is increased when stressed is reduced. You can reap rewards after listening to a piece of music.

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Research findings on music

Research findings have proven that music has many therapeutic benefits.

Music enhances the development of children with developmental delay

A study by D Aldrige, G Gustroff and L Neugebauer (1995) showed that children with developmental delay improved greatly with the introduction of music. It had positive effects on their interpersonal relationships,highlighting the benefits of active listening. They also experienced a continuing improvement in hearing and speech and the skill of hand to eye coordination.

In addition, it also brought about order and security to these disadvantaged children.

Listening to music reduces anxiety.

K Allen et al (2001) conducted a study on patients about to undergo surgery, with the objective of assessing if selected music reduces the level of surgical stress. An experimental group of elderly patients was given music to listen to viz headphones while a control group was left status quo.

The results that the experimental group experienced lower blood pressure before surgery as compared to the members of the control group, and a lowered perception of stress and pain.

Listening to music lowers depression.

Hanser S. B. (1994) in a study of the effects of music on the mindset of older adults reported that music can significantly lower depression.

In his study, 3 groups of elderly patients suffering from various states of depression were put into 3 groups. One group received regular visits from a music therapist, one received therapist intervention through phone calls and the third was a control group with no intervention at all.

The groups which had musical intervention proved to do better on standard tests for depression.

Music can reduce stress and burnout.

In a study by Bittmann BB (2004) 75 nursing students from the nursing college of Maryland participated in 6 sessions of group drumming dynamics. Their mood states were assessed with 2 separate inventories and the test scores noted.

Significant reductions in burnout were noted.

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How to use music to reduce stress

Choose your music wisely

Calm, relaxing music is definitely a better choice than heavy metal or rap, though different cuts make different strokes and heavy metal works very well to help some

resolve anger issues.

Your brain does need the stimulation, preferably gentle and quiet to lower stress levels. Opt for specialized relaxation soundtracks.

Remove all distractions.

With the relaxing music prepared, remove all distractions that typically surround your life, like the buzzing cell phone. Let your loved ones know that you need a few minutes to yourself.

Prepare for a few minutes of sleep.

Put your head on a pillow. You may even sleep in an armchair or the couch. Darken the room and turn on the soundtrack quietly.

Think happy thoughts.

A lot has been said about the law of attraction and positive thinking. It does work! Think happy thoughts and let the music help to bring them in.

Practice deep breathing.

Take deep breaths and picture yourself letting your body get rid of negative thoughts and stress.

Let yourself drift into sleep.

This relaxing track can be left throughout the night. Let the music take you to a state of deep, stress free sleep.

What is some good relaxation music?

We have seen that music can have a profound effect on reducing stress levels.What are some suggested pieces for relaxation?

Silk Road Kitaro

Best of Silk Road from Kitaro

This track is good for yoga practice. Kitaro’s album has a mix of energizing, soothing music that is perfect for stress relief.

Yiruma River Flows in You

The River Flows In You by Yiruma

Yiruma, another master of the piano, has produced several tracks that have the power to relieve your body of tension. The River Flows in You is a perfect example, with its haunting piano riffs.

In My Time Yanni

In My Time by Yanni

The songs on this track are beautifully played on the piano with no backup vocals. By far, one of the most relaxing pieces of music.

Monkey Business by the Black Eyed Peas

Monkey Business by the Black Eyed Peas.

Now, before you say, “hey, that’s not typical relaxation music,” hold the thought. There are many folks out there who relax by releasing pent up energy with a little heavy metal and hip hop. Feel the tension leave the body with the help of Will I Am and Fergie.

Songs About Jane Maroon Five

Songs about Jane by Maroon 5

The husky, nasal quality of Adam Levine’s voice has a way of helping one to forget one’s troubles. This is a musically well put together list of songs. The background music in each track can be listened to while cooking dinner or even writing!

Vivaldi Four Seasons

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

A list of relaxing music cannot be created without mentioning Vivaldi’s creations. Studies also show that listening to classical music causes people to eat less, savor their food more and digest it more easily!

A day without rain Enya

A day without rain, by Enya

New age music has a way of lending a little calm to an edgy day. Let Enya’s ethereal voice and the gentle orchestration of this music calm and soothe you.

Pachabel Canon in D

Pachabel’s Canon in D

One of my favorite classical pieces, the Canon is not only a good wedding track but has a melodious, calming feel. Listen to this over a cup of coffee!

Conclusion

Music indeed has a great way of soothing and being a balm for angry and hurt minds. Here, I would like to thank the writers who answered the question What music do you like to listen to when you are stressed? Do pay a visit to each of these fine writers.

The answers to the question prove that a flexible range of music does serve to reduce stress levels. Whatever the choice is, do listen to a piece of music to help you let your hair down.

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    • profile image

      Leyla 23 months ago

      Thanks for this hub, it was super informative! I found some great music on youtube, to relieve stress and to relax to. If you´re interested, here´s a link:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd1fO68axBo&li...

      it´s basically just soothing instrumental music, combined with soft colours in the background. I find it really effective, and can only recommend it :)

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, SidKemp!! Too true, different music for different times. Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Dianna! Am glad that it was useful....music does bring us peace.

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Thanks! I do use music this way occasionally, but I haven't gotten into the habit yet. I liked your article from the very top, because, sometimes, I use a heavy metal beat to shake loose, and other time, I go with gentle New Age flowing harmonies.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I turn on my music to bring peace to my mind. Very calming. Great post, well researched and so useful!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, ketage! Yes, it's a great stress reliever!

    • ketage profile image

      ketage 4 years ago from Croatia

      Fun hub and very true, music has always helped me relieve stress, I cannot imagine being without music for even one day.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 4 years ago from Finland

      Great hub! I can't imagine life without music. I listen to music all the time when it's possible. Today I've listened to music since I woke up this morning. :)

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Am so glad to hear that you and your missus enjoy music! And glad to connect with a fellow musician/guitarist. My we always enjoy it!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, music plays a more important role that what we give it credit for, Jaye! May we be able to enjoy music forever!

    • baja2013 profile image

      Bajazid 4 years ago from Sarajevo, Bosnia

      Music was always with me. Learned to play guitar by myself when I was 13, and from time to time play for me and my wife even today. The best thing is when you feel it literarly from inside, somewhere between your heart and stomach. I notice that i am relaxed when I listen for nice, long, harmonic sounds (some classics) and when I need acceleration then short rithm bips are just fine for me (electronic sound). But frankly, most of my time I listen to the local radio stations :)

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      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      This is an excellent hub, and I agree wholeheartedly: music works wonders! Music has played an important role in my life since I was a child, and I'm now a senior citizen. Music tends to make good times better and help me make it through tough times. Besides, listening to music can be incredibly mood-changing and just plain enjoyable. I have favorite go-to music CDs for various situations, and they never let me down. I hope I never lose my hearing, for a world without music would be sad.

      Voted Up+++

      Jaye

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, that's the benefit of it, Jules!! Thanks for sharing!!

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      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      Yes, the right music for each individual's relaxation is awesome. Although I do not like the banging music with surprise or unexpected twists, some do. To each his own, I suppose.

      Thanks for sharing an interesting article. I like the illustrations.

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      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      I always find music a great stress reliever. I am amazed that so much study has been done but I bet that research xomes with the benefit of listening to lots of music as you research :o) Win, win!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      It's a pleasure to enjoy music well played...more endorphins released! Thanks for sharing, shin_rocks!

    • shin_rocka04 profile image

      shin_rocka04 4 years ago from Maryland

      Music is definitely a great stress reliever. Whether I'm dancing or just relaxing in my home, I thoroughly enjoy quality music. Great hub! Voted up and sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Do give music a go, Bake Like A Pro! It will surely calm! Thanks for sharing!

    • Bake Like a Pro profile image

      Bake Like a Pro 4 years ago

      Wow what a nice hub you put together. You've got everything from A to Z here. I haven't been listening to music in years and forgot how theraputic it used to be for me. Thanks for reminding me. Will start listening. Voted up and sharing.

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Indeed it does, Pavlo, thanks for sharing!

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Thank you for good advices. I knew that musik is good for a mental health because it really helps to reduce stress.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hello, Ruby, thank you. Glad to reduce a little stress with a bit of music!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Oh music is a wonderfully mediative thing, I so love the piano roses in between, beautiful silent music they made to me. Great hub.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Anna! Glad to connect! Music is the stress reliever. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Anna Sternfeldt profile image

      Anna Sternfeldt 4 years ago from Svenljunga, Sweden

      Yes, this is so important! As the music can change our whole state of mind. I liked to read that you mention the law of attraction and positive thougths combined with music as that is something I recently started to practice and it is really powerful! And thanks for sharing some good music. Some are new for me so I am happy to get some more great music that will improve my life!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Vinaya! Music certainly relieves stress and am glad that you're interested in music as a form of meditation. Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      That's the power of music, Glimmer....the right song can really put you in the right mood! Thanks for sharing!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Recently I have taken interest in music meditation. This hub was an eye opener.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Great hub that is right on the money. The right song can make me feel like I am floating away. Pinned, up and interesting.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks Who, indeed it does!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hello, Iguidenetwork! Yes, it makes such a difference to our daily tasks! Thanks for sharing!!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      Yes, music does increase productivity and makes work or even a household task like washing the dishes, more tolerable at least or even enjoyable. Good work.

      Up, useful and a following. :)

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

      Midget, music makes the world go round...a lot more smoothly. Thanks for this good work. whonu

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi, Maria! Yes, music indeed has many benefits. Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      True, Christy, it certainly can! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Music works to calm the senses, indeed! Thanks, Sherri!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Pachabel's a great, for an eternity! Thanks for sharing, Snakeslane!!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi, Cyndi! Earth, Wind and fire are indeed great artistes! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Adam is so cool, Alecia! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      It's important to choose the right type of music indeed, Laurinzo! Thanks for coming by and sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks Meldz! Nice to see you! Glad that you like it!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Glad you enjoy my selection, Bill! Thanks for coming by!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Adam rocks, Alecia!! Glad we agree with this and happy to have a fellow music lover to share with!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I'm listening to classical as I read this comment as well, Cyndi! I love Earth Wind and Fire too. Thanks for coming in!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Snakeslane! Glad it made your day!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi, Sherri, nice getting to know you! Yes, the senses have to be well taken care of for our over well-being. Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Music works wonders, indeed, Christy! Thank you!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Maria, and I'm glad we connect over this! Thanks for sharing!

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Incredibly smart hub, as I have always seen the benefits of music... as I am listening to some soothing music while I read this...

      Wonderful

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      ignugent17 4 years ago

      It is really true. It is wonderful to read your hubs because it is full of information and benefits.

      It reminded to listen to some of my favorite songs.

      Have a nice day! :-)

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      Bill Blackburn 4 years ago from Twentynine Palms, California

      I really enjoyed this Hub! You put out a good selection of music and a very good list of benefits. I also picked up some ideas on better ad placement for my own Hubs. Great job! Thanks

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Girishpuri!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Martie, I am glad that you agree too, and thanks for the link!! Glad we connect on that!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I find that it indeed helps clear the noisy thought chatter indeed, Fossilady! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Hatter!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      So glad to hear that music works well for yourself and your hubby, Dianna! I would prefer classics too! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Ruchira. It's therapy indeed! LOL! I try, I try!!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Interesting, Rul! I think it would....hearing music I don't like drives me a little batty sometimes for sure! Thanks for sharing!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I do enjoy listening to music to relax. And I like some of the artists you suggested, namely Black Eyed Peas and Maroon 5. There is something about Adam Levine's voice that I love. Great hub!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      I write to music, mostly classical. You have some wonderful suggestions for various degrees of relaxation. Certain jazz pieces and some songs by Earth Wind and Fire are great for the energy.

      Well written with excellent suggestions. Thanks for the compilation. Take care.

    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi midget, I followed Mar here, what a great Hub. Pachabel is just what I needed this morning...Thank you. :) Regards, snakeslane

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      Sherri Tuck 4 years ago from Virginia

      A great hub that stress the importance of the senses to our overall well-being.

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      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Wonderful Michelle that you even include examples of the music you refer to. I do find that music can really calm me and vice versa it can give me energy on days when I need more. Well done! Sharing.

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      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Thanks to my Sista Marie for sharing this piece, Michelle.

      Music is the focal point of my life. I turn to music in times of happiness, sadness, anxiety, even fear...

      You have written a beautiful and comprehensive hub on its many benefits. Excellent job...and wonderful song choices.

      Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

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      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      Fabulous hub, midget! I am an advocate for Music as a tool for stress management. I get myself in a couple of seconds out of a negative mood with music, and even into any mood I need for a specific occasion or chore. I am adding a link to this hub to one of my music hub. Voted up and awesome!

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 4 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      I enjoyed this hub because it contains useful information that helps improve our lives. I loved running through all your examples as well! Using music to clear our thoughts or clear noisy thought chatter is great advise . . . a real worry reliever! Thanks for sharing, Kathi :O)

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      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Some good suggestions here, thank you so much, your hub would help many, God bless.

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I am very sure it does, Arun and studies have proven that too. Glad you stopped by!

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Lifts the mood indeed, Bill!!

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Wonderful, Mary, so do I, especially while writing! Thank you!

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Deergha, glad we connect over music as well! Thank you for sharing!

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Music served me well while I was writing this, Janine! Thanks for sharing!

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Oh dear. When a song is overplayed it stresses me too. Faith seems to sing well! Thanks for sharing!

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I so agree, carol! Any music that keeps the fingers going is good for stress relief. Thank you for sharing!

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Ebonny. Music is indeed beneficial and works wonders! Thanks for sharing!

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      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. You are, of course, quite right.

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Music is so theraputic for me and my hubby. I find myself destressing almost immediately when I play my favorites. I prefer the classics, but sometimes an upbeat tune helps. Great post and so very useful.

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      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      informative article with great composers. Appreciate Yanni's music.

      Music sure can do wonders to oneself. Your dad being a musician, you must be so well balanced, Michelle.

      voted up as interesting/useful

    • Rui Carreira profile image

      Rui Carreira 4 years ago from Torres Novas

      Recent researched pointed out that listening to good music can actually make your blood vessels expand, lowering blood pressure. Note that this study also demonstrates that if you hear music you don't like, blood vessels contract and your blood pressure rises...

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      Thanks for sharing the useful information.I may add-Music reduces mental depression. It has the ability to make one positive and feel motivated. Listening to pleasant music a difficult or a boring task seems easier.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am trying to imagine life without music and I can't do it. Music has played such a huge part in my life; I would be so sad without it.

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      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I totally agree. I listen to mood music all day as I go about my chores. I do not care for Rock , but I prefer Classical and good piano solos.

      Great Hub. Voted UP, and will share.

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      deergha 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Wow dear such a nice hub, many thanks for sharing this one. I totally agree with your view here and practically i just worship music and i just love to be among music as far as possible during every day. Your choices are also very nice and my personnel favorites too. Votes up way and sharing as well. Take care always....Thanks again.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Couldn't agree with you more about music relaxing me and still listen to music even now when I a writing and it is quiet here. And I have always been like this with music. So, this article truly was so very relatable to me. Have of course voted up and shared all over!!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Amen to music being relaxing and relieving tension. When I'm stressed I like to have a song stuck in my head and it helps relax me. Then again there are times when a song gets stuck and it stresses me out...such as Miss Mary Mack which happened just last night thanks to Faith:)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Music of any kind changes the mood..even popular rock can get your toes tapping and fingers clicking. Anything that takes your mind to another dimension is good. We often have music going in the house and for me always in the car. You did a super job on this hub and covered so many great points. Voting up, sharing and pinning...Excellent!

    • Ebonny profile image

      Ebonny 4 years ago from UK

      It is only relatively recently that I have come to realise the benefits of music on my mood, motivation etc.

      It's amazing how music can lift the spirits, calm you down, make time pass quickly as you navigate life's necessary chores, encourage and keep you going when exercising and help your mind to settle so that you can drift off to sleep at the close of the day.

      Thanks for sharing all this and hopefully others will be prompted to explore the many and varied benefits of music.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      An article on how music can relieve stress and some stress busting music tracks.