How Can Music Impact Mental Health?

How Can Music Impact Mental Health?

Debasish Mridha said, “Music can heal wounds that medicine cannot touch.” Listening to music can affect a human in many beautiful ways. However, it can also provide a medium for mental health and well-being. 

A myriad of research overwhelmingly indicates that music heals the mind, body, and soul. Dr. Emmett Dent believes that if hospitals contain a musical director and doctors learn the nature of music, it could brighten lives and restore tangled brains. Whether you play, listen, or move to music, it changes you, most likely for the positive. 

Your Daily Life Includes Music

When you were a baby, your mom probably sang lullabies to get you to sleep. When we were kids, holiday songs were magical. Some of us had to take piano lessons, while others marched in the school band. 

Throughout our lives are dances, parties, graduations, vacations, weddings, etc., and most, if not all, include some celebratory music. We are born with music, and it will be with us for our entire lives, in one form or another. How many other things last from the beginning of your life until the end? 

Intentionally including music in your life can bring happiness, which we all seek. Peace, contentment, gratitude, and love inspire a song. Whether we sing, dance, or listen, it fills our hearts and minds and can bring us the sheer appreciation of being alive.

Expressing Your Feelings and Your Mental Health

Singing to babies not only fosters mother-child bonding but also is known for reducing distress in infants. Music soothes us when we are anxious and raises our spirits when we are depressed. Older adults with dementia often experience anxiety and become easily agitated, and music can help assuage the symptoms.

Expressing our feelings is sometimes hard, especially in front of others. When words do not come, people find creative ways to express themselves and their feelings, such as music. Have you ever watched a concert pianist during a powerful solo? Facial expressions and body movements reveal their passion and rapture of their craft. Releasing intense emotions seeming to exhaust a musician also satisfies a deep yearning for self-expression. 

When we can express our feelings, whether in words, art, dance, or music, we are better equipped to deal with ourselves and our environment; suppressing emotions can lead to stress and anxiety. However, listening to or making music can help calm you, thus allowing you to work through negative feelings and deal with them effectively.

Using Music Therapy in Treatment and Recovery

Music therapy has been around for thousands of years. Pythagoras, an ancient greek philosopher, prescribed musical scales to cure some physical and psychological conditions. Therapies and treatments using sounds, tones, and musical notes exist worldwide and are considered effective for many ailments and illnesses, including mental health disorders and substance abuse. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “Music therapy is increasingly being used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.”

Some music therapy interventions develop between a therapist and an individual who decide on a therapeutic process involving the use of personally tailored music. Other therapies are offered by a physician or healthcare professional. Music therapy can be accomplished without a professional, as well, for individuals and groups. Treatment can be formal and standardized or informal and casual. The effectiveness of the therapy mainly lies in the individual’s willingness and mindfulness to participate.

Using Music for Self-Care

Many of us prioritize our health and physical fitness using individualized self-care programs. But does your self-care program include music? Below are some tips and suggestions to fit music therapy into your life. Try some or all of them and enjoy the benefits.

  • Wake up to music: Use your phone or turn on the radio and do a few morning exercise warmups.
  • Try a different genre of music: Classical music can reduce stress and help lower your blood pressure.
  • Take a mindfulness break at a certain time during your day: Find a peaceful place and relax to some soft, soothing sounds.
  • Dance it out: Put on your favorite tune and dance! It’s therapeutic, healthy, and fun! 
  • Enjoy a favorite artist’s music during dinner: Music aids in the digestive process and fosters dialog with your dinner guests.
  • Take a walk in nature: The music from birds, insects, and trees can make for a pleasurable concert.

Most of us do not give music a second thought, as it is part of our well-being. However, suppose you are experiencing depression, anxiety, pain, self-doubt, or other mental health issues. In that case, music can help, but do not hesitate to seek advice from a trusted loved one or a professional if your symptoms escalate or you feel overwhelmed. Your mental health is part of your overall health and merits attention and care.

At SoCal Mental Health, we understand that your mental well-being and recovery are at the core of your success and quality of life. The challenges associated with depression, mental health issues, or substance abuse can be overwhelming. If you or a loved one are feeling powerless or experiencing mental health concerns or substance abuse issues, know there is help for you. At SoCal Mental Health, we provide supportive treatment for mental health and co-occurring addiction, including music therapy. Find clarity and peace in knowing you can have the life you want. Don’t wait to get help. Call SoCal Mental Health today at (949) 502-2041 to learn more about our programs.

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