Music is the key to reducing stress in schools

If music can help calm patients during surgery, imagine what it could do for the minds of high school students? Students constantly grapple with stress. A study from the American Psychological Association found that 27 percent of students reported experiencing extreme stress during the school year, 40 percent felt irritable and 36 percent reported feeling anxious. This issue is not an easy fix. However, there is a simple way to help. Several high schools and middle schools have implemented playing music during passing periods, and student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. There is no reason why our school should not do the same.

The fact that music has a positive effect on people is far from revolutionary. Several studies have explored music’s potential to lower stress and improve mood. A study by the New York Academy of Sciences found that listening to music can lower levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.  Another study found that patients who were allowed to listen to music through headphones during surgery had lower blood pressure than those who were not. Such studies seem to be a clear indicator that playing music would benefit students.

The unfortunate reality is that too many students dread going to school. If they were able to hear their favorite songs echoing across campus, it may have a positive impact. Some argue that it is one’s own responsibility to find enjoyment in school, and there is some truth to that. However, if there is a way to make school just a little more pleasant, then doing so seems like common sense. Music has the potential to transform the campus environment from a place students feel they have to be, to one they actually enjoy being in.

While focusing on academics is important, a high school campus should also be a place where students can feel comfortable and relaxed. Music can help facilitate that environment. Sound can also have a profound effect on mental health, something that many students struggle with.  

Although students have breaks from their classes, it can be difficult to forget the stress of the day. Music can provide a distraction and help students unwind. Sometimes all it takes is the right song to gain a fresh perspective.  Almost everyone has experienced the mental shift that comes from listening to the right music. Such a shift that, according to one 2016 study, is comparable to meditation.

Enforcing a campus wide meditation initiative would be nearly impossible. However, playing music during passing periods is completely achievable. Playing music during passing periods is something that can be implemented with no costs to the administration and minimal effort. The only thing required on the administration’s part is speakers and a playlist, and one of those things is already covered.

Will playing music during passing periods be able to completely diffuse the stress epidemic? Probably not. However, it would undoubtedly create a positive environment for students, which is more than enough reason to implement it. The bottom line is, if it can help, then we should be doing it.

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