Anxiety is very common and very serious problem in the United States. It affects around 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. Anxiety disorders can develop from a set of complex risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Those who suffer from anxiety know how debilitating it can be. Feelings of dread, fear, and loss of control can affect just about every aspect of a person’s life. Anxiety disorders drastically reduce quality of life for millions of people.
Some who suffer from anxiety turn to prescription medication. Others try yoga, meditation, massage, and other relaxation techniques. While different outlets work for different people, neuroscientists in the U.K. have discovered that a certain song results in a dramatic 65% reduction in overall anxiety. Any guesses?
Music Therapy And Anxiety
Researchers at Mindlab International in the United Kingdom set out to discover what type of music induces the greatest state of relaxation. In the study, participants tried to solve difficult puzzles. The difficulty of the task triggered a certain degree of stress. Participants were connected to sensors to gauge their stress levels. At the time time, they listened to a range of songs. Researchers measured their brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.
The study concluded that one song in particular resulted in a 65% reduction in the overall anxiety levels of participants. It also led to a 35% reduction in their usual physiological resting rates. The song’s title is “Weightless.” It was specifically designed by Marconi Union to induce a highly relaxed state. Musicians teamed up with sound therapists to arrange certain harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines. The goal was to create music that would slow down a listener’s heart rate and blood pressure, while lowering stress hormones.
Researchers found that the music is so effective, many of the female participants became drowsy during the study. Because of this response, Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson advises against listening to it while driving.
The Rise Of Anxiety Disorders
The rise of anxiety disorders may be related to technology. Social media allows tweens, teens and even adults to compare every aspect of their life with the lives of others. Relationships, beauty, body shape, weight and wealth; nothing seems to be off limits. Research has shown that time on social media can cause depression in those who compare themselves with others.
Students today report feeling significantly more isolated, emotionally fragile, and unstable than students in the past. Teens are also more likely to be self-absorbed, have low self-esteem, low self-control, and express feelings of dissatisfaction with life. Many researchers believe the rise in anxiety and other mental health issues is related to the way young people view the world, instead of the world as it actually is.
If you struggle with anxiety, music therapy might be able to help. Check out the video below to hear Marconi Union’s song Weightless.