Sometimes, all I want to do when my cramps get bad or I’m feeling grumpy is curl up in a blanket with tea and listen to music. Haven’t we all had those days? Sometimes I’ll listen to something low-key and relaxing so I can enjoy my tea and other times it’ll be something aggressive to motivate me to get up and do the work I need to do. Fortunately for me, and the rest of you that I’m sure have done the same thing, there’s research to back up the effects of music on our mood and general well-being, so we don’t have to feel completely useless during our period.
You’ve probably heard of the wonderful effects of classical music for our learning and mental abilities, even affecting us while we’re still in the womb. In a study on college students with self-reported sleep problems, classical music helped improve their sleep quality. In general, classical music has been shown to decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve cardiovascular and mental health.
And music, not just classical music, has been used before or after surgeries to relax patients, and music can also be used to help people perceive their pain less. So if your cramps are really getting to you, listening to something soothing might be the ticket for you.
Anything that a person views as calming or relaxing has those same effects. In one study, music was shown to have the same or better effects in stress reduction than a massage. (In the same study, they found that heavy metal had the opposite effect.)
But that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore heavy metal from your period rotation. In one study, researchers asked participants to select songs that they considered “joyful.” They found that energetic music can increase blood flow to your blood vessels, which can improve your overall vascular health. It can also inspire you to get moving and research shows that improves your mood and can reduce cramps.
Of course, music is subjective, so what may be relaxing to you might be grating to someone else. But isn’t that the same for our periods too? Like I mentioned before, sometimes I want to relax and sometimes I want to fume about something or other, so I like matching my music selection to my mood. What about you?
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