Stressed Out? Tap into the Power of Music.

The virus might be keeping people apart, but music is bringing them together. In Italy, people isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic stood on apartment balconies, singing "Bella Ciao" ("Goodbye Beautiful") together into the night. Musicians in a Dutch symphony filmed themselves playing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" individually and then assembled a compilation video titled "From Us, For You." In Columbus, Ohio, children played cellos from their porch so an elderly neighbor could hear. On Twitter, people shared so many of their songs of comfort, prompted by the virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, that the hashtag started trending.

"Music is a very effective, easy, and cheap way of distracting yourself," says Silvia Knobloch Westerwick, professor of communication at Ohio State University, Columbus. "I think oftentimes we think of other people when we listen to music; it might just help us feel connected--and that is a buffer against stress. Human connectedness helps you to feel less stress."

That includes the kind of in-person connections made in Italy and Columbus, but it also could be simply playing a song that reminds you of a happy moment, maybe from a concert you enjoyed with friends, or a song that reminds you of your...

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