Keys to Setting Up a Harmonious Thanksgiving

Northwestern Medicine
Health and Wellness November 22, 2021
If you feel tensions begin to rise around the Thanksgiving holiday, turn up the speakers and enjoy some tunes. Allison MacFarlane, a board-certified music therapist and manager of volunteer services at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, a part of Northwestern Medicine, says the right mix of music can decrease blood pressure*, lower stress and enhance your mood*.

To ease the stress of Thanksgiving, MacFarlane offers these tips.

Listen to preferred music while cooking, cleaning and preparing to host guests.
Listening to your favorite songs can effectively regulate mood and help you achieve self-awareness. Achieving self-awareness is an important first step in decreasing stress. If your thoughts and feelings are operating outside of awareness, then they control you. Reconnecting to your thoughts and feelings through listening to your preferred music can help you regain control.

Background music can help create a positive atmosphere for celebrating the holiday together.

Several studies have outlined the effects of music on self-reported anxiety level. Providing background music can help your family and guests feel more relaxed when sharing time together after an isolated, stressful year.

Functionally utilize music to attain specific goals.

During the holiday season, your choice of music can foster social relatedness. Families might have positive associations with a specific artist or musical genre. Playing that music can elicit memories and encourage meaningful conversations.

MacFarlane suggests getting this Thanksgiving off to a positive start by creating a playlist for each situation. You’ll be set for a more harmonious holiday season.

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