Many of us tend to associate music with good times – going out, listening to bands, dancing and singing along to songs we love. But music can also be a powerful way to reduce stress and anxiety.
If you’ve been feeling worried and stressed about your career lately, you’re not alone. For many of us, thoughts and worries about the future are keeping us up at night. In fact, 44% of Australians are staying up late worrying about work.
If you’ve had sleepless nights or are feeling anxious about your career, music can play a surprisingly important role in helping you to manage your emotions – here’s how.
Music isn’t just entertainment
Music is much more than an enjoyable diversion, according to Professor Bill Thompson, Director of Macquarie University’s Music, Sound and Performance Lab. “Listening to music is not just a way to escape your problems, it can help you work through those problems,” he says.
“Music has the potential to positively impact physiological symptoms of anxiety, such as lowering your heart rate, reducing stress hormones and helping regulate your breathing.”
Choosing the right music to help your mood
Incorporating music into your daily routine can be a great way to benefit from the positives it can bring. “You have to treat your music listening seriously, like taking vitamins,” Professor Thompson says. “I’m not saying music will solve all your problems, but research has shown that it can have a real impact on people’s mental wellbeing.”
If you’re looking to select music to ease worries or help you unwind, Professor Thompson recommends that you:
- Start with your favourite music: “Music that you’ve liked for a long time reminds you of your values, who you are and your best self. This can boost your confidence and sense of direction.”
- Reflect on why you like certain music: “We all like music for different reasons. Sad music might affirm feelings of depression or loneliness, whereas other styles of music might help us to feel inspired or motivated.”
- Explore ambient music: “If you’re not a big music listener, start with music that’s predictable and soothing. Some relaxation music involves natural sounds like the wind, waves or gentle rain, because those sounds help us feel comforted and calm.”
- Choose what’s right for you: “You can reduce anxiety and stress by choosing music that helps you feel confident, inspired and optimistic, but only you know what that music is. For some people it may be jazz or cello music, for others it may be Sufjan Stevens or Leonard Cohen.”
Many of us are grappling with uncertainty at the moment, and music is an important tool that we can use to consciously and deliberately manage our moods and emotions.
The power of music is that it can provide us with a lift, help us to relax, and encourage positive attitudes about the future. So, if you’re finding it difficult to let go of your worries around work, try listening to your favourite track or creating your own playlist to help calm your anxieties and fuel your energy levels.
Tune into SEEK Sleepmix
Because music is such a powerful way to help reduce career anxiety, we’ve joined forces with leading music researcher Professor Thompson, SEEK’s Resident Psychologist Sabina Read, Spotify and renowned rapper Briggs to develop SEEK Sleepmix – a personalised Spotify playlist of music and career advice to help you relax, unwind and get a fresh perspective on work.
With SEEK Sleepmix, you can choose what’s keeping you up at night (are you feeling stuck in a rut and wondering how you can reshape your career?) and select up to three music preferences (including pop, hip hop, indie and rock). Then you’ll be streamed a personalised playlist with music to help you relax, plus career advice to ease your worries and help you find a way forward.