Mental health is an incredibly important and often overlooked facet of health and wellbeing. As therapies for mental health issues are investigated and new treatments are developed, one factor that is often overlooked is the power of music. Music can have a major impact on mental health, from helping people to find solace and comfort to potentially even providing the type of cognitive and emotional stimulation that can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Music is thought to be an especially vital tool for emotional regulation and emotional expression. In particular, when we listen to certain types of music, we can experience feelings of connection and belonging or feelings of emotional catharsis. It is no surprise, then, that many people turn to music to express themselves and work through their emotions. However, music can also play an active role in regulating the emotions of someone struggling with mental health issues. This can involve purposefully picking out songs that make you happy, calm, and relaxed, or giving yourself permission to listen to whatever kind of music you are most comfortable with.
In addition to its power in regulating emotions, music can also play a role in more active forms of treatment. One form of therapy, called music therapy, uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. Music therapists develop personalized programs of music instruction and performance to directly address the emotional or cognitive issues the patient is facing. For example, music therapy has been used to help adults and children struggling with anxiety, depression, and trauma.
It should also be noted that music can also have a powerful impact on people’s physical health. Studies have found that certain types of music – such as classical music – can reduce stress hormones, slow heart rate, and lower blood pressure. In addition, the rhythm of music can activate the body in a way that can help people manage chronic pain, improve balance, and even boost their immunity. Moreover, music can be used to create a positive environment in which people feel safe and supported, promoting physical and mental well-being.
Given the breadth of evidence showing the potential of music to support mental health, it is no surprise that a growing number of resources are now being developed for individuals looking for support in this area. From personal music therapy sessions to online resources and apps that use music to promote good mental health, there are a wealth of resources now available for anyone who is looking to take advantage of the power of music to support their mental health.
Ultimately, there is no single “right” way to use music to support mental health. Since everyone’s experiences and needs are different, it is important to experiment with different kinds of music and to find out which works best for you. However, with the right mix of music, it is possible to create a soundtrack of support that can positively impact your mental health.