Music and Stress
Those of you who have followed me for a while no doubt are aware that I keep sheep. What do sheep have to do with music and stress? Do I have a story for you!
I love animals in general, and a test I took in school when I was about thirteen reported back I should be a forest ranger. At the time, I wanted to be a singer, so I was highly insulted by this test. Looking back, it was accurate. Give me plants and animals, and I’m a happy camper.
Last month, we lost our eldest sheep. Bella was more than seventeen years old, which for a sheep is ancient. Our two remaining younger sheep have been lost without her and scream constantly for me to be with them. I’ve been spending a lot more time out there, but I can’t be with them all the time. We’ve really been at a loss as to how to help them adjust. Their calling now is not your typical sheep gentle “baah”; it’s more like a desperate elongated honk/scream that really grates on your nerves. There’s a desperation in the calling that really has been breaking my heart. We didn’t realize how dependent they were on Bella and how much they would miss her.
I’m usually up by 5:00 am as I like to write early in the morning. Yesterday, the girls started calling me at 6:30! Not wanting to wake the neighbors, I raced out to feed them know full well I was probably reinforcing unwanted behavior; calling me equals getting fed.
I fed them and started to come in the house; they started screaming! I ran in, grabbed my laptop and my now very cool cup of black coffee and went outside. I sat on the bench with them and worked while they ate. Finally, at about 7:40 am, I came inside, deciding that if the neighbors weren’t up by then, they should be (wink).
The screaming resumed. I remembered at the animal shelter where I’ve been involved for decades now, The Buddy Dog Humane Society in Sudbury, Massachusetts, we play classical music to soothe the shelter dogs. The shelter is a very stressful environment, and many of these dogs are dealing with having been dumped or abused. Many are having a terrible time adjusting, and the music seems to have a calming effect on them. I decided to try playing classical music for my girls.
I went upstairs and found a radio I no longer use. Tuning it to the twenty-four hour classical station, I took it out to the barn and plugged it in. What followed was a true miracle! The girls were quiet all day. Even when we went out, opening the garage doors (which always makes them call), they were quiet. We’ll see if it lasts, but they were much happier and definitely much less stressed.
This experience made me decide to share this story with you as well as this article about music and stress.
It’s a really good time to figure out what relieves your stress and what amps it up. The author of this article says, in part:
“Neuroscientists in the United Kingdom conducted a study that had participants connected to sensors try to quickly solve difficult, stress-inducing puzzles as they listened to different songs. The researchers measured brain activity and physiological states such as heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing.
The participants’ overall anxiety dropped by 65 percent as they listened to one particular song: “Weightless” by Marconi Union. As it turns out, the song was created in collaboration with sound therapists who carefully arranged the harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines to help slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and lower the stress-hormone cortisol.”
I thought sharing this now might come at a time when you need to put another tool in your tool box to help you handle the times in which we find ourselves.
Please let me know if you have questions. I’m always happy to hear from you!
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
P.S. – Please check out my new podcast, “Major Health Tips in Digestible Bites” at https://CherylAMajor.live
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I don’t just teach this; I live it!