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How To Manage Stress....With Music!

Updated: Jan 8, 2019

Whether the loss of a loved one, changes in our health, work deadlines, financial problems or even being stuck in traffic... all of us experience stress in some form or another. 

Symptoms of our stress can often include:

  • Irritability

  • Overwhelming anxiety

  • Chronic headaches

  • Dizzy Spells

  • Persistent Fatigue

  • Sleep disturbances

  • High blood pressure

  • Changes in appetite

  • Among other symptoms 

So  the question is: what can we do to help gain some relief from the stress in our lives?  Some  common techniques we may use include:

  • Maintaining healthy habits including exercise, diet, relaxation and sleep

  • Striking balance between work and home

  • Improving work habits and learning how to prioritize and pace yourself

  • Reducing criticism and increasing constructive observations that provide structures to be better/solution and growth orientated

  • Talking over problems with someone you know and trust

  • Joining support groups and communities

  • As well as many others 

There is however one method that some of you may not have utilized as of yet ... music therapy!  Let's learn a bit about music therapy, and how it can be used in helping us manage our stress. 

What is Music Therapy? Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish  goals within a therapeutic relationship by a professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music Therapy is a profession that systematically uses music, sound, imagery and movement  to promote health and wellness.

Music Therapy Interventions for Stress:

  1. Guided music mediation where a music therapist prompts the listener to use all their senses and imagination as instructed to redirect focus and illicit a change in mood. Live instrumentation throughout the guided mediation is provided.

  2. Songwriting as a form of self exploration and expression. Like talk therapies, the music therapist has the participant explore and share their thoughts, words, feelings, and experiences around stressful situations and facilitates the structure of how to turn what is expressed into a song.  The participant in turn has a chance to have a constructive outlet and final product they can listen to and/or sing.

  3. Singing, Toning, and Chanting Affirmations. Music therapist facilitates the process of formulating an effective, empowering affirmation.  The music therapist then teaches various breathing techniques for the participant to do while reciting the affirmations by singing it, stating it extending the phrases, or reciting it over and over in a rhythmic fashion.  The use of tone bell, signing bowls, and other instruments are often incorporated.

  4. Expressing Drumming. The music therapist teaches the participant techniques and patterns on how to play the djembe(A drum originally from West Africa which is played with your bare hands- see example here).  Facilitator and participant(s) engage in group play, call and response playing, and improvisation.  Other percussion instruments are incorporated and the session ends with a physical cool down involving stretches and breathing techniques. 

If you are having problems managing your stress and it is causing physical or emotional problems, you may contact the Canadian Mental Health Association or visit or #MusicTherapy #Stress #ManagingStress #Singing #Drumming #Meditation #Music


Contributor: Roxanne Christian, Music Therapist  Live Love Life Music Phone: 905-914-5835 Email: Website:

Roxanne Christian  is  the founder and owner of Live Love Life Music.  Live Love Life Music was inspired by Roxanne’s passion for music as therapy, and bringing this work to the community.  Roxanne is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, and has over a decade of experience working with physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive needs within district school boards, municipal nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and other populations within the community.  Roxanne is registered and Board Certified through the Certification Board of Music Therapists in the USA and the Canadian Association for Music Therapy.  Visit her online at Live Love Life Music where you can see how music therapists  use music as a tool to facilitate healing, wellness, rehabilitation, and the creative processes. 

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