Stress is a major factor in developing diseases and can harm us on a cellular level. Our bodies are designed to deal with stressors by going into “fight, flight or freeze” mode, which means that we either prepare to fight, freeze up or run away from the situation. All options trigger a physical response to a possibly life threatening situation. This response is helpful when your are being chased by a bear in the woods, however, this rarely is the case anymore in today’s world. Our threats are on an emotional and mental level but our bodies still react with the same adrenalin- pumping physical response. In order deal with the overflow of hormones, we need to develop strategies to calm the mind.
Yoga and meditation seem to be great ways in order to manage stress but they are not for everyone. Another great, inexpensive and non- time consuming option would be music.
When we listen to music, a part of our limbic system called the hippocampus is activated which will trigger emotional responses. It will also help secrete hormones like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which will make you feel happy and elevate your mood and therefore decrease the production of stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol. Even playing an instrument has positive effects on people. It can boost your motivation, keep your breath and heart rate in check and improve hand - eye coordination.
Positive, up- beat music seems to have a great impact on people in terms of making them feel better and happy while sad music seems to assist in dealing with negative emotions more effectively such as after a break - up.
Here's what you can do to tune in to your emotions:
1) Listen to up- beat music in your car/on the bus on your way to work
2) Dance for 5 min a day like no one is watching
3) Listen to calming music after work, right before you go to bed or during stressful situations
4) Play an instrument daily for 10 min, if you have one. If not, now is the time to finally start!
5) Sing or chant: join a choir, sing in the shower, try out karaoke or simply just sing along to your favourite song
Health and Fitness have always played an important role in my life.