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Create Your Own Music Therapy Chill Zone

Posted 1/26/2016 by UHBlog

Feeling stressed and looking to change your tune? We can help.

Create Your Own Music Therapy Chill Zone

If stress is getting the best of you, you may want to start using music therapeutically.

According to music therapist Seneca Block, music is beneficial in reducing anxiety and stress because it increases blood flow in the brain. The brain uses 20 percent of the body's energy, so taking care of it makes a big difference.

“Music stimulates the part of your brain that registers reward and pleasure,” Block says. “It’s the same part that's triggered by food and sex.”

When you use music therapeutically, it provides physical benefits, he says, including:

  • Improved mood
  • Restfulness
  • Increased motivation

“Music therapy can treat and reduce what may lead to major problems,” he says. “For instance, music decreases anxiety and depression, both of which have physical effects and could lead to problems with blood pressure and greater heart attack risk.”

If you want to create your own chill zone using music, Block recommends:

  • Choose slower tunes – The lower the beats per minute, the more relaxed you will become.
  • Establish a routine – Set aside 15 to 20 minutes a day, he says.
    “Whether you feel you need to relax in the morning or at night, it’s important to have a routine,” Block says. “Try to listen to music at the same time each day and use that time to gather yourself and rest your brain.”
  • Create a sonic soundscape – Sit back, listen and let your mind wander.
    “Let yourself exist for a moment,” he says. “Your mind may wander, but let the music bring you back to the present.”
  • Listen to what you enjoy – You don't have to train yourself to like new music. Pick something that resonates with you.
    “We’re not asking you to go listen to Cher three times a night,” says Block jokingly. “There are different music forms, artists, genres – so there’s something for everyone.”

Block encourages exploring and experimenting to find what type of music works for you.

“Music is culturally engrained and a constant in our lives,” he says. “We use it at every occasion from birthdays and weddings to funerals. Everyone, from infants to the elderly, can experience music's impact.”

Seneca Block, MT-BC is a board certified music therapist at University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Block or any other UH Connor Integrative Health Network provider online.

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