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My friend and colleague from Illinois Dr. Shahram Heshmat recently published an evidence-based evaluation of listening to music’s effect on mood and stress. So I recruited my musician husband to “help” with this video about diabetes and music. I hope it helps you too (laughing is also a stress reducer).
Stress Reduction Through Music
Stress reduction is very important to diabetes management, and I’ve offered some tips on stress-reducing techniques in previous videos like my “forest bathing” video (I really love that technique) and my “taking care of diabetes means taking care of you” video has a lot of great ideas. And, yes, as noted in my physical activity videos, body movement usually works well as a stress reducer. In this video, we are going to talk about music. Yes, there is research to back this information. A colleague of mine, Dr. Sharham Heshmet, published an article for Psychology Today summarizing the science-based evidence about music and mood. Once you hear about the research you will probably say to yourself… ”yeah….this makes sense” and then start your search for that collection of cassette tapes you hid away.
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Dr. Heshmet pointed out 6 specific benefits of listening to music, that’s the education part of this video. Since my husband Tony is a part-time musician I‘ve asked him to join me in this video so you can witness those mood-changing feelings right along with me, this is the fun and entertainment part.
Diabetes among all the other things that happen in life, affects our mood. Having the diagnosis of diabetes is certainly a downer but fighting blood sugar readings that go up and down like a roller coaster will certainly affect your stress levels, anxiety and inhibit mood swings. And Music can help manage your mood. And there’s more! Music, whether you are playing the music or listening to the music can improve the body’s immune system, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate AND help you feel connected to others.
I need to make note that just like managing diabetes is individualized, so are our personal choices of music.
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The Benefits to Listening to Music
- One of the benefits of listening to music is that it brings pleasure. I know you have a song or a series of music that gives you a pleasurable feeling.
- Music can also help us release strong emotions. If you are having negative emotions or feeling frustrated, listening to music can help. For example, when we listen to sad music (or watch a sad film), we are disconnected from any real threat or danger that the music (or movie) represents. “
- Music benefit number three is being able to “Feel” the music: This is felt as a source of pleasure. Even for those of us who have no rhythm, music can nudge you to move your body, feel the music. And when we are dancing around, you can not only feel but see the joy. I really want to start dancing here, but I’ll spare you the laugh.
- Benefit number four is about Moving in rhythm with others creates social bonds. Dr. Heshmet explains that “Music is a tool that provides a sense of comfort and social connection among people. How we feel about another person is conveyed by rhythm.” Aha moment here on why some music is associated with romance.
- Here’s another aha moment for benefit number 5…Music can feel like a best friend: The lyrics of songs can hold a lot of meaning to each of us. Again, I know all of this is a personal choice. And do any of you listen to music while you exercise? Music can serve as a friend and mood booster while exercising.
- And benefit number 6 is that Music brings up memories: I bet you remember the song that was played at your wedding or a song that is played at the holiday time of the year. Music can help with bringing forth memories.
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While music is not the cure-all. If your blood sugar readings are up and down or just up or just down all the time, we need to make sure you are taking steps to get your blood sugar levels steady in the target range. I have several videos on keeping your blood sugar in range. But also know that this inexpensive treatment of listening to music can be added to your list of enjoyment to help reduce your stress levels and that’s a wonderful thing.
Until next time, cheers to your health. MUSIC PLAYS.
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