Skip to main content

The Power of Music to Relieve Stress

(Trent with clouds, top of Wasatch)

I've been dealing with my own stress issues lately in the midst of my preparation for the American Board of Anesthesiology oral board exam (the final step to getting board certified!). Just last night, I was up for at least an hour at 3 am replaying mock oral exam scenarios in my head, the adverse events that had been thrown at me intertwining with visions of my planned cases for the next work day... along with thinking about the pros and cons of moving to a different house (which is not an item on our upcoming agenda)...?? How the brain works is sometimes a mystery, isn't it?

So during my groggy, coffee-soaked morning prep for work, my ears perked up at this segment on NPR. The featured music group, Cloud Cult, is coming out with a new album. Their music reminded me of something you would hear wafting through the racks while shopping for another pair of brightly colored skinnies at Anthropologie, but the words struck me as rich, inspiring and positive. Two of the band members are married, and a great deal of their inspiration for song writing comes from a very horrible (and obviously stressful) experience. Their two year-old son mysteriously died in his sleep 10 years ago. A lyric example:

What comes will come
What goes will go. 
The wind will blow where the wind is blowing.

Let go of where you think you're going.
We'll never know why it flows where it's flowing.

- from You'll Be Bright

If these people can harness the feelings surrounding such a tragedy to create powerful music, what creative fruits could we bear when dipping into our black bags to manage our (much less horrible) work and life stress? Not everyone is adept at making music, but the act of listening to music can relieve stress and generate a creative flow in other areas.

When I got home from work today, instead of immediately diving into the study books or fretting about what to make for dinner, I popped in the headphones and headed out for a walk. And it felt great! What about you? Do you use music to relieve stress, inspire, remember gratitude? Do you play or just listen? I'd love to hear about it!


Popular posts from this blog

Bittersweet: 21 Day Sugar Detox Results

From now on this is the only kind of cupcake I really want (there's a "cherry" on top of that hat)!
As a result of what I felt was an out of control craving for sugar and sweet foods, I decided to embark on a 21 Day Sugar Detox (read the whole post here). And I survived without my chocolate and candy! Amazing. Here are my observations:

- The first 2-3 days were the hardest. I was used to having sweet flavors all day, and the abrupt change (starting with my morning coffee) was like a slap in the face. At first, I craved a sweet taste constantly. But that feeling subsided, and my tastes did start to change. A green apple began to taste quite sweet, for example. I wouldn't say that I now love coffee without my vanilla stevia drops, but it isn't bad. Now that I've done it, I can vouch for what others have said: curbing your intake of sweet foods definitely decreases your cravings for them. After a while, I just didn't even think about sweets, and if I saw the…

Shoe-drop thinking: How to let go of the past?

(Yes, there is something growing in there!)
I'm pregnant, again... I'm almost 10 weeks along and definitely feeling symptoms of first trimester pregnancy this time.

No big announcements, clever texts or Facebook posts, no balloons or flowers or drama. Just quiet and cautious happiness... somewhat. You see, it's actually been difficult to enjoy the good news because I'm suffering from self-proclaimed "shoe-drop thinking"; things are going well, so when will the other shoe drop? When will that bad thing happen, you know, because something bad always happens?

I've felt exhausted on a new level, and the nausea started on cue right at 6 weeks. The occasional tugging in my lower abdomen signals the growing pains of my uterus (even though there's not much visible outward growth yet). I've had three ultrasounds that show perfectly-timed fetal growth and a strong heartbeat.

But when I have a day where I feel more energetic, I think maybe it's all over.…