Life Listening to Your Favorite Music or Mantras Can Relieve...

Listening to Your Favorite Music or Mantras Can Relieve Stress

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Listening to music you love is a powerful antidote to stress. 

Listening to music you love is a powerful antidote to stress. 

Pre-pandemic—when I used to leave the house—I would occasionally sing at nursing homes with my partner, Janet, on piano. We played jazz standards for a very captive audience at a Memory Care unit serving senior men and women—nearly all in wheelchairs and most suffering from severe dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

But, once in a while, something magical would happen. I would start singing a classic from the great American songbook, like “Dream a Little Dream” or “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and, suddenly, a woman who just moments earlier seemed completely lost to the world would come alive. A smile creeping over her face, she would sing along, even clap to the beat, as if dormant neurons were firing again.

That’s the power of music and memory in action.

See also The Yoga Rx for Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Memory Loss

Scientists and researchers have long studied the effects of music on cognitive brain functioning as we age. But, how can music help those of us—to quote J.D. Salinger in his short story For Esme–with Love and Squalor—“with all our f-a-c-u-l-t-i-e-s intact?”

Turns out…quite a lot.

Your Brain on Music

“Music taps into the whole brain,” said Dr. Jonathan Burdette, MD, a radiologist and professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “It affects so many networks.”





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