A couple of weeks ago I was at a carnival in the south of Spain watching the drummers who were leading the procession. The music they produced was fantastically powerful, and everyone - drummers and spectators – were jigging round to the beat, huge smiles on our faces and having enormous fun. I decided there and then I want to join a drumming group :-).
The drumming was high energy and created contagious happiness, a strong reminder how much music affects us.
Music has a unique link to our emotions, and research has found that it can be used as an extremely effective stress management tool.
Just like listening to slow music can calm the body and have a relaxing effect on the mind. Researchers at Stanford University found that listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. Since music is so widely available and inexpensive, it’s an easy stress reduction option.
What type of music reduces stress best? Research suggests:
- Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums and flutes
- sounds of rain, thunder and nature sounds
- light jazz, classical and easy listening music
When you hold business meetings be conscious of the sound environment, including the noise level and type of music that is played. Loud noisy environments can contribute to unconscious stress and tension build-up without us even knowing it.
As well as listening to music, making music can reduce stress levels. Recently I came across an initiative to provide stress-relieving activities as an alternative (or perhaps to complement) the gym or yoga.
Music in Offices (www.musicinoffices.com) was founded 12 years ago by musician Tessa Marchington.
Ms Marchington’s aim is to transform business culture through music. She says: “Since we started, we have delivered 12,000 choir rehearsals and more than 60,000 music lessons to over 70 businesses. We recently signed up one law firm and, in three months alone, 20 people have taken up instruments from violin to banjo.”
She came up with the idea when she was graduating from the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) and her brother was working as a City lawyer. “I had been in such an inspiring environment with so much music going on. I thought: why can’t other people have all this? At the time my brother, who used to play the guitar, felt under pressure and too work-focussed, and we thought it would be great if he could make music just once a week.”
It's not just a feelgood thing. Making music can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, reduce stress, and lessen anxiety and depression. There is also increasing evidence that making music enhances the immunological response, which enables us to fight viruses.
Where’s my drum?!!
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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.
Copyright © 2020 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.
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