For the longest time, music has been known to help improve mental health and reduce anxiety. Research shows a link between adults playing musical instruments with lower blood pressure, decreased heart rate, lower stress levels, and reduced anxiety and depression. Thus, it is safe to assume that learning to play an instrument, a guitar perhaps, can help reduce anxiety. Here are a few good reasons why guitar can be good in reducing anxiety.
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Playing the guitar brings about a magical mindfulness that helps with anxiety
Playing the guitar at home, alone or in a group, helps you be in the present moment and keeps you glued to the task of playing. Focusing on the present helps you shift your thoughts and forget the things that trigger your anxiety. Playing the guitar also lets you get creative, creating a good mood and enjoyment.
Learning to play the guitar will boost your confidence.
If you have been anxious lately and your confidence has taken some battering, learning how to play the guitar will give you a sense of achievement. This will help you gain back your confidence. By learning to play and improving your guitar skills, you will likely end up playing in front of your partner, family member, potential bandmates, or even an audience. When you set a goal of going to learn to play the guitar, you will work towards objectives at your own pace, and every time you play a new chord or song, you develop more confidence. This is which is key in reducing anxiety. Playing the guitar will also help you deal with anxiety in a study or work context because it will teach you presentation skills- which many people find stressful, and it triggers anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reported that public speaking anxiety, also known as Glossophobia, affects up to 73% of the population. This percentage of people fear either judgment or negative evaluation from others.
Learning to play guitar is a creative outlet to deal with anxiety.
For many people, learning to play guitar and getting into music theory can be a creative outlet for dealing with anxiety. Expressing your emotions, views and perspectives through songwriting enables you to channel your anxieties into something that is both personally satisfying and emotionally fulfilling. Not only does it provide an opportunity for creativity and expression, but playing the guitar can also create a huge sense of relaxation and serenity that often helps to reduce stress – enabling anyone struggling with their mental health to find the peace they need in creating music.
To quote Jeff Loomis of Arch Enemy, he said, “For a long time, I have been a fairly shy person generally and one that doesn’t talk that much. However, guitar playing is a way to express me to others.”
Playing the guitar is therapeutic
The role of music therapy is becoming more apparent, especially in schools and charity organizations. Such institutions use musical instruments like the guitar to manage stress and anxiety, enhance memory, improve communication and motor skills, as well as help the guitar player feel more confident to cope with life’s challenges.
Specifically, the guitar has been seen for a long time to be therapeutic. Clark Vogeler of The Toadies says, “When I am troubled and anxious, or something is stressing me out, I play music on my guitar to reset back to zero. It also calms me down, and I get back where I can deal with almost anything.”
Playing guitar helps in socialization which is important in relieving anxiety
Playing musical instruments like a guitar is not only for stress management but is also a social endeavor. Playing the guitar with others helps you connect because you have the same interests. Even if they have more advanced skills than what you’re comfortable with, you will still have fun learning something new.
Music can be used to evoke and relax anxious emotions
Several recent clinical studies have revealed the emotional benefits of guitar music, evoking them with the high and the low. Daniel Levitin, a psychologist at Montreal University who studies the neuroscience of music, published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences a study linking music with reduced stress and anxiety. He found that relaxing music significantly reduced the stress and anxiety of patients who were undergoing invasive medical procedures and patients that are recovering from those procedures. The same study further found that musical instruments play an important role in preventing stress-related emotions compared to silence.
Additionally, a study from the University of Alberta focused on the relationship between musical instruments and stress and how the instruments affect pediatric patients, between the ages of 3 and 11, in an emergency room. Children listening to music with musical instruments during an IV procedure reported significantly less pain and distress.
“There was a difference in the reported pain by the children after they listened to music as they reported less pain after the procedure.” Alberta Professor of Pediatrics Lisa Hartling, Ph.D. “Such findings are clinically important and are a great intervention that can make a big difference. When you play the music accompanied by musical instruments like the guitar during a painful medical procedure, it will be an inexpensive and easy-to-use intervention in any clinical setting,” she added.
Anyone can get stressed anytime, whether it’s about a medical procedure, at home, or at work. However, music and musical instruments can offer a sense of calm when you feel anxious.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, know that playing the guitar is a great way to help ease your anxious thoughts and feelings. The guitar brings about a magical mindfulness that is therapeutic and can create a calm and relaxing environment. Playing guitar also helps boost confidence and socialization skills, both of which are important in managing anxiety. So, pick up that guitar today and give it a try! And if you need some help getting started, be sure to listen to our free guitar tabs.