Music Soothes the Anxious Brain

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Nancy Mellor, Staff Writer

Let’s face it, life is stressful. Stress is everywhere and in everything. When athletes put stress on their bodies, they often put on their favorite playlists in the background. What if the solution to feeling less stressed is right at our fingertips? 

Science shows that music can be used like a medicine to a stressed brain. Deane Alban, a biologist, and the author of the article “How Music Affects the Brain,” tells how involved music is in keeping the brain healthy and happy and its effect on an uplifted mood.  Listening or playing music lowers cortisol, the stress hormone, helping the individual feel relaxed and calm. It also increases the brain’s release of dopamine, the same chemical that is released after eating chocolate! When specifically playing music with others, the brain releases the hormone oxytocin, a hormone that helps with bonding with other people. Music overall has an impact that can make its listener happier and feel more calm about the world around them. 

Here are some thoughts of students and teachers here at AHS that have felt these results in their own lives. “Not playing for yourself, not playing for others, but playing for God,” brings junior Kenzie Grey peace and a calm state of mind that she feels is more susceptible to the Spirit. When Miss Choque, the choir accompanist for the A Cappella and Chamber Choir, listens to music, especially choral music, she feels that it has an, “unifying energy and Spirit.” She has felt that throughout her life,  “It’s been there whenever I’ve had trials or difficulties in my life… It’s saved me in a lot of ways from being down and sad.” Music is powerful. Senior Eva Pace especially loves performing choral pieces. She finds that there “is something powerful about performing… As much as I love music for myself,  it’s also really fun and helps me emotionally to know that I can help other people as a way of service….There is nothing quite like music to do that.” 

So when life gives stress, keep calm and music on.