Fear… just thinking about your fears can initiate a stress response – increased heart rate, increase blood pressure, shallow breathing, etc. Stress is one response to fear. There seems to be a lot of research on the human response to stress. Jennifer Day posted in a recent blog on the female response to stress. She shared women often demonstrate a “Tend and befriend” responses rather than a fight or flight response to stress. (A similar article was in TIme magazine but detailed the male response.) I am aware that I show different responses in different situations – some are “tend & befriend” while others are more “fight or flight”. Jennifer shares options of how to use this knowledge. One option is to move on to a something positive afterwards. Music has can be a positive option. You can engage is active music making or active listening to music.
Music Therapy research is beginning to demonstrate this. For example, many people report fear and anxiety around medical procedures. Several studies demonstrating effectiveness of music therapy in decreasing reported anxiety, distracting from unpleasant procedures, decreasing pain perception, and supporting a more pleasant environment. Several research articles are highlighted on the Ma Sharda School of Music research page. An additional article entitled:“Using massage and music therapy to improve post-operative outcomes” from AORN Journal, Sept, 2003 by Laura D. McRee, Stacie Noble, Alice Pasvogel compares post operative reports by patients receiving music, massage or music paired with massage.
The short answer seems to be that actively listening to music or creating music that 1) you enjoy, 2) creates an environment supportive of a desired outcome such as decreased heart rate, and 3) provides something positive on which to focus seems to decrease anxiety. It is worth ones time to employ these tools in fear related situations especially to asset you in moving forward as Jennifer Day recommends.
Sometimes, tools can be helpful. Here is a fun tool for those who relax with gaming: Relaxing music, sleep-aids, anxiety reduction, relaxation tools.
“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”–B.F. Skinner
So, try listening to or creating music the next time you feel fearful or stressed. Try a relaxing game. You may find your key to more personal peace.