Stress and Music

Listening to music is a great way to relieve stress during the busy semester.

The life of a college student has always been saturated with plenty of stressors, now in addition to pandemic anxiety. Listening to music — no matter the genre — is one of the best ways to alleviate those stress levels.

Music is a powerful instrument that can turn off the stress response, therefore, improving one’s psychological well-being. Because it is so easily accessible, music is a valuable tool for relieving stress.

Think about the feelings you experience when you hear your favorite song. That moment temporarily takes you to another, more salutary state. 

Alina Matejkowski, a sophomore at KU, associates the music she listens to when she’s stressed with feelings of nostalgia.

“I listen to some of the old violin concertos I played when I was younger,” she said. 

Matejkowski’s favorite pieces are Meditation from Thaïs by Jules Massenet and the Mendelssohn violin concerto.

While music with a slower tempo can quiet the mind and relax your muscles, upbeat music can help people feel optimistic and positive. 

No matter the song or genre, music is shown to have therapeutic effects on our minds. Researchers at Stanford University have found that listening to music changes brain functioning to the same extent as medication.

When you listen to music that you enjoy, your brain triggers a release of dopamine, a chemical associated with feelings of happiness, to the brain. Dopamine is one of stress’ main combatants, so listening to your favorite album provides amazing health benefits.

If you are interested in expanding your music taste and relieving your stress as midterms near, here is the perfect playlist.

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