Music to my ears

Music connects to the soul. Whether it's the simple rhythm of rain pit-patting on a window, the dancing key of a piano or the soft resonance of your favourite crooner, music has the power to reach inside and unravel your dreams and worries wooing you into a state of tranquility.

Scientific research shows that music can lower levels of cortisol in the body (the stress hormone released by the adrenal glands). Because significant positive changes in cortisol take place when listening to music, some surgeons arrange for their patients to listen to music before and during surgical procedures. A US research study showed that patients who listened to music had lower blood pressure and heart rates during and after their operations. It would appear that music has the capacity to influence the brain and any subsequent physiological response. (The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response, NCBI 5/8/2013)

So if you need to soothe your jangled nerves or simply want to chill out after a hectic festive break, put your headphones on and press play.

Here are my tips to get the best out of musical therapy:

Listen with the objective of redirecting your thoughts and feelings. Have a purpose while you relax.
Match the music to your mood. To relax, play something with a lower speed, a simpler melody without too many surprises. Not Megadeth!
Experiment and listen to something new. I'm currently enjoying contemporary jazz. New experiences can activate your mind in interesting ways.