Learning a new skill like playing the guitar gives you a feeling of accomplishment. That tricky chord or unsurmountable riff? Just take them one step at a time, and you’ll eventually crack the code, which in turn can boost self-esteem and elicit positive vibes.
It’s easy to get lost in the static of binge watching trashy television when you feel stressed and need to escape. But are you really achieving anything when staring mindlessly at the latest drama on Real Housewives? Perhaps it’s a better idea to chill out with a guitar in your hands or an album on the stereo, actually stimulating your brain while unwinding.
Playing music can also be a social endeavor. Jamming with others helps you connect with other people with the same interests, and even if their skill level is more advanced than what you’re comfortable with, you can still have fun and learn something new.
These benefits have also shown up in several recent clinical studies.
For centuries, people have used music as a way to evoke their emotions – the highs and lows and everything in between.
In his 2013 study, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, psychologist Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, who studies the neuroscience of music at McGill University in Montreal, noted that listening to “relaxing music” has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in patients undergoing invasive medical procedures and those recovering from those procedures.
The study also found that in real-world tasks, music can prevent stress-related increases in heart rate and blood pressure – in turn lowering the stress hormone cortisol – compared to silence.
Another recent study from the University of Alberta focused on the link between music and stress and how it affects pediatric patients in the emergency room.