Art and music have been used for years in various forms of therapy due to their healing powers, but many people don’t understand how big a part they can play in boosting mental health and overall well-being. Not only do they promote wellness by giving an individual an outlet for stress and anxiety, but they can help you socialize and provide a confidence boost, two things that are important for all ages but that are essential for young people.
Music, especially, can make a big difference in the life of someone who is battling stress, depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. It can help a student do better in school by waking up the part of the brain that processes language, and it can help young people get involved and active in school activities. Music can also help form bonds with other people, allowing the individual to stay social and connected.
Music can help you stay in shape
Getting fit isn’t always easy in our busy world, but playing the right instrument can help in that department. Playing a woodwind instrument — such as a flute or saxophone — requires great breath control, something you can achieve by practicing every day and learning how to use your diaphragm to your benefit. These are wonderful instruments to try because they give so many variations of sound, so you can really experiment.
Music can also play a part in keeping you enthusiastic about work out even when you’re tired or have endured a long, stressful day. Listen to a favorite exercise playlist that includes happy and motivational song before playing sport or while exercising can pump you up and inspire you to do your best and not give up.
Research has shown that when people listen to music that they prefer they have reduced the need for pain medication, need less anesthesia, and experience less stress during medical procedures.
Music can also help lessen the perception of pain and help alleviate depression in people experiencing chronic pain.
Music is used to help people recover when they have lost speech ability because of a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
Specific types of music therapy can foster development of alternative neural pathways in healthy parts of the brain when some parts of the brain are damaged.
– American Psychiatric Association
Music can help you feel better
Music can change the way you look at life. It can help boost your mood and concentration and reduce stress at the end of a long day. The right song can help you feel better overall, and it’s for this reason that music is often used in therapy for various individuals. Playing an instrument can also be a wonderful outlet for negative feelings, especially if you write your own music.
Music can improve your sleep
Soft, calm music has the benefit of creating better sleep when you listen to it before bed, so put on some classical music before you hit the sheets and leave the stresses of the day behind you. Be sure to put away your phone and other screens at the same time, as these can have a negative effect on your sleep cycle. The positive effect of music will get a boost if you pair it with a hot shower, which relaxes your body and prepares your body for rest.
Music enhances concentration and memory
Because music makes certain parts of the brain active, it can greatly improve concentration and focus as well as help with memory function, especially in seniors or individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Certain melodies can remind us of a particular time in our lives, which means music has the power to take us back in time and restore memory.
8 tips to help you incorporate music into your life
- Start the morning off with soothing tunes by downloading one of the varieties of phone apps that let you choose your own morning mix. You can also set music as your morning alarm.
- Play music while you are busy around the house cleaning, cooking, etc. It will make it much more enjoyable!
- Use the time you spend commuting to pump yourself up for the day by listening to your favorite radio station, CD, or playlist.
- Play soft music at work or pop in headphones if allowed.
- Create playlists for various emotions or make it situational with specific songs for exercise, work, and stress relief.
- Play music before going to bed to help you unwind. Playing peaceful music will help you get ready for sleep.
- If you practice mindfulness but struggle to calm your mind, music can help you stay in the moment.
- Learn a musical instrument. Science proves there are many surprising benefits for your brain.
Music has proven itself to be beneficial in so many areas of life that it has been studied by scientists as ways to help manage physical and emotional pain. They are truly transformative for many people in terms of overall wellness and can have a major impact on mental health. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or other health issues, talk to your doctor about the ways music therapy can help.
AUTHOR: Michelle Peterson has been in recovery for several years. She started recoverypride.org to help eliminate the stigma placed on those who struggle with addiction. The site emphasizes that the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride and offers stories, victories, and other information to give hope and help to those in recovery.