Music: Your Secret Weapon to Beat the Holiday Blues

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“‘Tis the season to be jolly!”

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

The holidays are painted to be a time of good cheer; filled with all that is “merry and bright,” but truth be told, the Christmas festivities, along with the frigid, winter weather can evoke feelings of sadness, loneliness and depression. That’s right, the “holiday blues” are real (you are not a Scrooge) and much more common than you think. So, during a time in which you are feeling blue, but surrounded by all that is red and green, is there an approach to staying positive? How does one cope? Listening to music might just be the answer!

It has long been said that music is “mind medicine,” having the ability to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, as well as improve mood and sleep quality; just the boost one needs during a season that can be very overwhelming. Research has proven that listening to music can have the power to heal, lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which counteracts the effects of chronic stress. To stay calm and healthy, and to soothe the mind, you can follow these three simple steps: Put on your most beloved playlist, relax your eyes and take a deep breath.

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. – Jimi Hendrix

Not only does music lower stress levels, but it can better one’s mood and uplift the soul. When you listen to music, your brain releases dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter, making one experience emotions of happiness and excitement. So when you just can’t shake the blues, try listening to your favourite tunes, even if only for fifteen minutes. Trust me, sometimes this is all the time you need to feel better!

Bonus: If you’re having trouble sleeping amidst the yuletide chaos, a study conducted by behavourial science students in Budapest, Hungary concluded that listening to peaceful, classical music for forty-five minutes before turning in acts as a significant help for better sleep. So, instead of listening to an audiobook or sticking to your normal routine, try listening to a little Chopin before bedtime to catch some serious Zs.

There are times when we get stuck in a particular emotional state and it is difficult to dig ourselves out, but fear not, there is always a bright side. Listening to music can be such a useful tool to stay grounded, whether that be mentally, physically or emotionally;, proving that we actually have the power to shift our thinking and rid ourselves of negative energy. T With that being said, of course there is no magical remedy to ease all pain when going through a rough patch, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make small choices that will accumulate overtime and contribute to our overall well-being. Let music lead you to your “happy place!”

 

Written by Sarah Regan

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Sarah is an avid film & music-lover, aspiring artist and outdoor enthusiast with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Guelph. She has diverse editorial experience for printed publications, websites and social media platforms, such as The Ontarion and CollegeFashionista.

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