Mozart and Vivaldi could help you
Mozart and Vivaldi could help you
10 Wondrous Things That Happen to Your Body When You Listen to Classical Music
– Brooke Nelson
A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that participants who listened to classical music had significantly lower blood pressure levels than participants who did not hear any music. Researchers believe that listening to music may help your heart recover from stress, decreasing blood pressure as a result. Here are other surprising things doctors won’t tell you about healthy blood pressure.
Listening to music might inspire even the most apathetic person to crack a smile. Researchers at Southern Methodist University observed volunteers while they wrote about the most significant event or experience in their lives. They found that participants who had classical music in the background while writing became more emotionally vulnerable and more willing to disclose information than those who didn’t. And these benefits extend beyond the page; being more aware and in control of your emotions is a great way to maintain better, healthier relationships.
Classical music can be an easy home remedy for restless snoozers. A 2006 study found that students with sleep disorders slept better when they fell asleep to classical music than those who didn’t conk out to music. Try music that has a regular rhythm, low pitches, and tranquil melodies, qualities that are believed to be most effective in improving sleep quality. If you still wake up exhausted after a full night’s sleep, it may be a sign you’re not sleeping deeply enough.
Saying goodbye to pain could be as easy as cuing up your favorite music app. Research has shown that music can be effective at decreasing pain among surgical and cancer patients. A 2006 study found that groups with chronic pain who listened to music reported feeling less pain and more power over their depression and disability than those who didn’t. Researchers suggest that music empowers patients recovering from surgery and even encourage nurses to use it as a rehabilitation tool.
In 2001, subjects who listened to Mozart’s sonata for just 10 minutes displayed IQ scores that were nearly 10 points higher after the study than before. Researchers explained that classical music is believed to enhance the brain’s spatial temporal reasoning, or the cognitive understanding of how items or pieces can fit into a space. True, the “Mozart Effect” is controversial. Others are skeptical of these findings, citing the need to consciously appreciate the music to reap its benefits. Still, it can’t hurt to switch on a little baroque music during your daily commute.
Next time you need to study for a big test or presentation, make Beethoven your companion. In a study published in Learning and Individual Differences, one group of students listened to a one-hour lecture where classical music was played in the background, and the other group heard the lecture with no music. Those in the first group scored significantly higher on a quiz than the second group. Researchers believe that the music made students more receptive to the information, allowing them to store and recall it more efficiently. Check out these daily habits of people with good memories.
Scientists have discovered that listening to classical music may help reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels in the body. In one study, pregnant women reported that listening to a CD of classical music every week relieved their stress and anxiety, according to researchers at the Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. These benefits can apply not only to mothers-to-be; another study found that hospital patients who listened to music on headphones reduced their anxiety before and after surgery. These are other natural anxiety remedies to consider.
Harmony with others could start with the harmony in music, according to new research. A 2014 study published in Aging Mental Health found that among those with dementia, music served as a tool to feel connected to others because the subjects could play and discuss the music together. Families have also acknowledged the communal aspects of musical connectedness, whether it’s through singing songs together or participating in musical therapy sessions, according to the same study. Pick up a guitar or plop down at the piano and invite others to enjoy the music with you; the notes could go a long way in bringing you closer.
When baroque music was played in the reading room at hospitals, radiologists reported that their accuracy, productivity, and work satisfaction increased, according to research from the University of Maryland and the University of Pennsylvania Health System. A bit of Bach coming through your earphones could leave you whistling while you work. Here are almost effortless ways to be more productive.
You don’t have to pay for a pricey spa or massage to reap the benefits of a little rest and relaxation. A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that subjects exposed to classical music experienced a reduction in brain activity and decreased heart rate, which lead them to feel more relaxed. Here’s how to make anyone in the room feel more relaxed.
Art Therapy: Painting to Heal
Art therapy takes one woman from depression to wellness.
Mary’s Story: Painting to Heal
Twenty years ago, life challenged me. I became depressed and everything in my life shattered and changed. I felt like I was drifting away from myself and all that I knew. In a moment of despair, I realized I had a vision and a dream that I had never actualized. I always wanted to be an artist but did not have the time or skill, and did not know how to go about learning. It was a turning point in my life. I became increasingly depressed and immobilized. In spite of therapy, self-help books, and workshops, I was floundering. I was trying to find something outside myself to ease my pain.
Then, there was a miracle. A friend of mine invited me to a studio to make art. It was a ray of hope—something that interested me. Everything in my life had turned bland until I started to paint. Art became my sun, my water, and my food. It energized me so much that I felt alive again. I fell in love with becoming an artist. I started painting every day. My creative process was like a river: a wellspring of energy that was profoundly healing and transformative. This experience changed me to my core. I had an experience of healing so profound I became well and I became a different person.
I tapped into my own enthusiasm and power to experience being truly alive. I worked every day in my studio. I invited the artist into my life and I became the artist of my own life. It was a point of departure where I never looked back. My life was on a path to fill a destiny that was unfolding. I knew something was happening that was deeply profound and connected me to my spiritual purpose.
I took out a large canvas and did not even know how to hold a brush. I looked though magazines and saw a picture of a woman who was broken and distorted. That was how I felt. I started painting. I got excited about the colors of the paint, how the shapes appeared on the paper. My painting was large. As I worked, it started to look like something—it looked like my pain, how I felt. I forgot about how I felt and instead looked at how I felt. I got excited about the making of the painting.
Then I got another canvas and started a series of paintings of woman. They were all distorted in the beginning. I painted garish backgrounds. I took photographs of myself and I started painting self-portraits. I become absorbed in the process and painted how I felt, instead of thinking of how I felt. I began to realize I was painting my life.
Next, I created a studio space for myself and simply began painting. In the beginning, I made no attempt to define myself or my process. I painted from pure feeling states. I became absorbed in the pure expression and gesture of painting. I could completely release my energy passionately on the canvas. The series turned out to be self-portraits. The first painting I called “Cut Out My Heart.” It was my pain, a deeply intense and dying pain. The figure was broken, distorted, diffuse, crumpled, crying, and bleeding. I painted “her.” This figure had been my despair, my uncensored and purely emotional energy. And in the moment I had released this image, I stepped back, looked, and gasped. What I saw was an aspect of myself that I hadn’t faced until now, it was so ugly. Yet I felt calm and detached in this moment face to face with myself. I had let go, on an intense emotional and physical level. Painting is physical for me; I embody my pain as I paint it.
For the first time, I was experiencing my pain in a strange, new way. As a painter, I stood in front of my canvas and was in control for the first time. I painted my emotions. I painted my body. I could feel that I was the creator of myself.
When I returned to my studio, I saw that the painting had captured and contained a moment that was now past. The painting remained, though the emotion had passed. It was an object that contained an image created in genuine expression. I had moved past it. I realized that I was witnessing my own transformation.
As I painted a series of self-portraits, I struggled with form and perspective. Metaphorically I was recreating and reconstructing my inner form and inner perspective. The external creative process mirrored my inner world. I realized the manifestation of movement and change was powerful. It was a process of knowing myself. As I immersed myself in painting, I not only became well, but became the artist I had always wanted to be. My creativity was a part of myself I had neither acknowledged nor honored. Through this experience, I realized that art could be used as a vehicle for healing.
Art became a way to know myself through the experience of my pain. In seeing my emotions, I could step away from them. They became my art, completely separate from me. In essence, I became free.
I spent two years as an artist in my studio. I painted my children playing on the beach. I painted the surrounding landscapes that I saw. I set up still-lifes on the kitchen table to paint the things that I loved.
Since I was a nurse and art had healed me, I hoped to bring art into the healthcare system. This was my opportunity to help others help themselves. No one had ever told me I could take my illness and use it constructively to help myself. Everywhere I looked it seemed like I had been in relationship with a form of healing that was disjointed from my life. It did not support me in the way I needed it to. It wasn’t until I threw myself into my creative work that I felt a powerful healing effect. I needed to throw my whole life into something powerful. I needed my whole life immersed in it because that was how I was involved with my sickness. Art and healing transformed my life. I healed myself. My process was not fragmented: one hour, twice a week. My illness was so overwhelming I needed to live my healing all the time, not just in visits to a therapist. Since I was a nurse, I hoped to bring art into the healthcare system. This was my opportunity to help others help themselves. No one had ever told me I could use my illness constructively. What was going to heal me—and others—was a relationship with myself that was fundamentally different than any I had had before. I could always be there for myself.
There is evidence that art-based interventions are effective in reducing adverse physiological and psychological outcomes, specifically the health effects of music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing. However, the extent to which these interventions are largely unknown. We hope to continue the investigation into this subject and to generate further interest in researching the complexities of engagement with the arts and health.