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  • Writer's pictureDr. Francis Battisti & Dr. Helen Battisti

The Zone - Volume 77

When we are discussing resilience today, we often refer to it only in the present and our current challenges. In this issue of The ZONE we look at resilience from the lens of history and how music plays a role in developing a resilient mindset.

Music has been referred to as the voice of the time. Listening to the music and the accompanying lyrics reminds us over and over of how resilient the human spirit is. Music is an expressive language of culture. It often tells a story, expresses emotion, or shares ideas with a society. Music reflects the cultural characteristics of a society. An example of this is in America, around World War II, big band music was used to express patriotism. The use of music during this time is credited with the majority view of the nation that it was our duty to be involved in this war. Whereas during the Vietnam era music spoke to the growing numbers of individuals who were against America’s involvement. The music also highlighted major cultural differences present in the U.S. that existed at that time and still do today.

Chanting is an ancient practice with mental health effects that might apply to our busy lives. Although chanting has been practiced for thousands of years, by many cultures, it is only now that we are looking at it not only as a spiritual practice but one that has physiological and psychological benefits. Scientific studies have found that chanting can decrease stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms as well as increase positive mood, feelings of relaxation and focused attention.

Music can improve mood, decrease pain and anxiety, and facilitate opportunities for emotional expression. Research suggests that music can benefit our physical and mental health in numerous ways. Music therapy is used by hospice and palliative care board-certified music therapists to enhance conventional treatment for a variety of illnesses and disease processes – from anxiety, depression and stress to the management of pain and enhancement of functioning after degenerative neurologic disorders.

Here are nine health and well-being benefits of music highlighted by the Spiritual Care and Support at the NorthShore University Health System in Illinois.

  • It’s heart healthy. Research has shown that blood flows more easily when music is played. It can also reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increase serotonin and endorphin levels in the blood.

  • It elevates mood. Music can boost the brain’s production of the hormone dopamine. This increased dopamine production helps relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. Music is processed directly by the amygdala, which is the part of the brain involved in mood and emotions.

  • It reduces stress. Research has found that listening to music can relieve stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers.

  • It relieves symptoms of depression. When you’re feeling down in the dumps, music can help pick you up - much like exercise.

  • It stimulates memories. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, but music therapy has been shown to relieve some of its symptoms. Music therapy can relax an agitated patient, improve the mood and open communication in patients.

  • It manages pain. By reducing stress levels and providing a strong competing stimulus to the pain signals that enter the brain, music therapy can assist in pain management.

  • It eases pain. Music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care or palliative medicine.

  • It helps people eat less. Playing soft music in the background (and dimming the lights) during a meal can help people slow down while eating and ultimately consume less food in one sitting.

  • It increases workout endurance. Listening to those top workout tracks can boost physical performance and increase endurance during a tough exercise session.


Key Takeaways

  • Music can teach us about the struggles and resilience of the time.

  • Music helps us understand history.

  • Music has a positive effect on both psychological and physiological health.

Best Practices

  • Take the time to quiet your mind to better hear the music.

  • Find the music that you enjoy most.

  • Remember that the beat goes on.

Things to Limit

  • Spending too much time on your phones, tablets and computers.

  • Not paying attention to the music.

  • Being too distracted.


Quote of the Week

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.



Music makes us smile and cry. It speaks to our soul. Take the time to enjoy your favorite piece.

Be well,

The paraDocs

Check our Welcome Greeting on YouTube

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.

We have developed "The ZONE", because that is exactly where you want to be during this pandemic. A place of focused attention to doing exactly what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a nationally distributed weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.

If you would like to get copies of The ZONE that you may have missed or if you know someone that would like to start receiving The ZONE, please signup today... It's free and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Permission is given to share with others.

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