- Anxious? Stressed out? Take a break from your day and sit back with your favorite music. It doesn't matter what the genre is, as long as you feel relaxed while listening. You may need to try out some new tunes if your current favorites are too hyper and energetic.
- Is a surgical procedure on your calendar? Get permission to have gentle, melody-based music playing in the OR. Even if you're asleep during the procedure, your subconscious will still hear and be comforted. My mom's doctor recommended this when she needed some minor surgery, which she was awake for. Mom appreciated having something pleasant to focus on, instead of the operation going on behind the screen.
- High blood pressure? Add joyful music to your playlist. Studies confirm that your blood vessels expand up to 26% wider than normal while listening to happy music. J.S. Bach is my favorite composer of joyful music, and his Cantata 29, rewritten for piano, is at the top of my list.
- Plagued by pain? Keep enjoyable music going in the background. It's a good distraction from discomfort.
- Difficulty remembering words? Music lessons for adults and children are easier than you might think, and improve your memory when you need to recall items from a list. More on taking the overwhelm out of music lessons to come later this week.
- Worried about old-age dementia? The more musical training you have in your life, the sharper your mental skills. You don't need to study to be concert-ready, just for personal enjoyment. If you've never touched a musical instrument in your life, but you'd love to try, go for it! It is never too late.
- Recovering from that surgery mentioned above? Studies have shown that music by Mozart and Verdi helped mice recover faster from heart transplant surgery, and those mice lived longer than their counterparts who weren't given the opportunity to appreciate fine music. No official research has been done on the effectiveness of classical music on improving general recovery times, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you and your doctor will be pleasantly surprised if you add a daily dose of Vivaldi, et al, to your regimen.
- Know someone who's suffered a stroke? Chances are you might, and it seems like I hear of younger and younger victims, too. When music, with lyrics, is played daily for stroke patients, beginning as soon as possible after the event, their verbal memory and attention improves 2-3 times more than patients who listen only to audio books, or no recordings at all.
- Craving a stress-relieving massage? I know that feeling too well, and I can sympathize with being unable to get an appointment. Whether your favorite masseuse is booked solid for the next month, or your budget just doesn't have any extra to spare, you can still get the reprieve you need. Try relaxing with some music that has a smooth, relaxing melody line. An hour spent lying down, with eyes closed, listening to soothing music has been shown to be as relaxing as a 1-hour massage. Tip: Keep the volume down so it's background music, and you'll find it even more relaxing. Here's a playlist to get you started.
- Bonus Tip #1: Want to lose weight or have more energy? Playing a musical instrument significantly increases the amount of HgH (human growth hormone) your brain produces. HgH is directly related to maintaining your body's ideal metabolism, having healthy hair and skin, reducing depression, keeping most of your other hormones regulated correctly, and much, much more.
- Bonus Tip #2: Not sleeping well? Create a bed-time music station and experiment to see whether you sleep best with it on for only a short time, as you fall asleep, or if you sleep best with it playing all night long. I find that I wake up more rested if I have my favorite classical or instrumental Christmas music continuously playing until morning.
Which health benefit surprised you most? Do you already use any of these ideas?
I'd love to hear about it!