The Power of Music to Reduce Stress

Stress is a part of our everyday lives, and many times we find ourselves struggling to cope with its effects. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and several other physical and mental health issues. While there are several ways to reduce stress, one method that has proven to be incredibly effective is music. Listening to music can help us relax, reduce our anxiety levels, and promote feelings of wellbeing. In this article, we explore the science behind the power of music to reduce stress and how you can incorporate it into your daily life.

The Science of Music and Stress Reduction

Music has a direct impact on our brain’s limbic system, which controls our emotions and stress response. When we listen to music, it can activate the brain’s reward system and release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates our mood and emotions. Music also has a calming effect on the nervous system by lowering cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress, and reducing our heart rate and blood pressure.

According to a study published in the journal Music Therapy Perspectives, listening to relaxing music can reduce anxiety and stress levels in patients undergoing medical procedures. The study found that patients who listened to music before, during, and after their procedures reported significantly lower levels of anxiety compared to those who did not listen to music.

The Benefits of Listening to Music for Stress Reduction

There are several benefits of listening to music for stress reduction. Here are some of the most significant ones:

1. It promotes relaxation

Listening to slow-tempo music with no lyrics can help us relax and unwind. Music with a lower tempo can slow down our breathing and encourage us to take deep, slow breaths. This activates the body’s relaxation response and helps us combat stress and anxiety.

2. It improves sleep quality

Inadequate sleep can lead to increased stress levels, and stress can also cause insomnia. However, listening to calming music before bed can help us fall asleep faster and improve the quality of our sleep. Music can also help us relax and reduce the likelihood of waking up during the night.

3. It enhances mood

Music has a direct impact on our mood, and listening to music we enjoy can have a positive effect on our emotions. Music can trigger the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters that promote feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

4. It reduces muscle tension

Stress can cause muscle tension and tightness, which can lead to headaches, neck pain, and other physical discomforts. However, listening to music can help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation, reducing the risk of physical discomforts and pain.

How to Incorporate Music in Your Daily Life to Reduce Stress

Here are some ways you can incorporate music into your daily life to reduce stress:

1. Create a playlist of relaxing music

Create a playlist of music that helps you relax and unwind. Consider slow-tempo music with no lyrics, nature sounds, or instrumental music. Listen to this playlist during your free time or when you want to take a break and relieve stress.

2. Listen to music during your commute

Listening to music during your daily commute can help you relax and reduce stress. Create a playlist of calming music or listen to a calming music app during your commute to and from work.

3. Use music during meditation or yoga

Music can be an excellent addition to your meditation or yoga practice. Choose music that promotes relaxation and enhances the mood of your practice. You can also find guided meditations and yoga practices with music pre-selected for you.

4. Listen to music before bed

Listening to calming music before bed can help you relax and fall asleep faster. Create a playlist of slow-tempo music without lyrics and listen to it for 30 minutes before bed to help you unwind and get ready for a good night’s sleep.

The Bottom Line

Music is a simple yet powerful tool for reducing stress and promoting wellbeing. Incorporate music into your daily life to enjoy its benefits and take a break from the stressors of everyday life. Choose music that resonates with you and helps you relax and unwind, and discover the power of music to reduce stress.


What types of music are best for reducing stress?

Any type of music that you find calming and soothing can potentially help reduce stress. However, research suggests that slow and gentle classical music, nature sounds, and instrumental music without lyrics are particularly effective in promoting relaxation.

How does music help to reduce stress?

Music has a powerful effect on the brain and can stimulate the release of hormones that help reduce stress and feelings of anxiety. Listening to music that you find enjoyable can also distract you from negative thoughts and worries, giving you a much-needed break from stressors in your life.

How should I incorporate music into my stress relief routine?

There are many ways to use music as a tool for stress relief. You can create playlists of your favorite calming songs to listen to when you’re feeling stressed, use music to set a relaxing tone in your home or workplace, or try incorporating music into your mindfulness or meditation practice. Experiment with different types of music and find what works best for you!


1. Malesaa, S. T., Batalla, I. B., & Arbós-Berenguer, T. (2021). The power of music: A systematic literature review of the impact of music on stress and anxiety. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(3), 1110.

2. Kemper, K., Danhauer, S. C., & Music, N. (2015). Music as therapy. Southern Medical Journal, 108(9), 539–544.

3. Labbé, E., Schmidt, N., Babin, J., & Pharr, M. (2007). Coping with stress: The effectiveness of different types of music. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 32(3-4), 163–168.