9 Things Music Can Do to Help Improve Mental Health
Music has significant implications for human physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual, and social wellbeing. With the pandemic casting a gray cloud in our lives, we turn to music to keep our sanity and allow us to weather the invisible storm. Here are nine things music can do to help improve mental health.
1. Improves Mood
The American Association of Retired Persons says music is an excellent mood booster. The organization worked with the Global Council on Brain Health to examine the body of evidence related to music’s influences on mental health.
Studies show that upbeat music can improve people’s overall mood and make them feel happier in only two weeks. Charles Vallena, managing editor for Guitar Junky says that upbeat music is not the only sound that can improve one’s mood. Even sad songs can uplift feelings of loss and despair.
Two European research institutions said that sad music could also comfort grieving persons, giving them pleasure and improving their mood.
2. Lowers Anxiety
The ongoing pandemic continues to push people on edge. They feel more anxious, not knowing when they or their families will get the virus. Anxiety is one of the classic manifestations of poor mental health.
Music is an excellent tool for managing anxiety, improving one’s mental wellbeing. Studies show that music can reduce people’s anxiety levels, especially when combined with nature sounds.
Feeling less anxious can make you feel good about yourself, allowing you to think clearly and focus on the things that bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment.
Research shows that popular songs can activate the brain’s reward center, making you feel motivated to do things you love. Playing a musical instrument also gives you a sense of achievement. After all, not everyone can master a riff or a fingerstyle.
So, there is no point debating between acoustic vs electric guitar because both instruments are excellent tools for revving your motivation.
4. Reduces Stress
If mask mandates and social distancing rules are stressing you out, you can always rely on music to help you feel better. It can lower your stress levels in almost every aspect of modern life.
Studies indicate that music can help dampen the body’s ability to release stress hormones. It still produces cortisol but in fewer numbers. Music may not eliminate stress from your life, but it can reduce it to such levels that you can function optimally.
You do not even have to play a musical instrument to enjoy music’s stress-busting effects. Listening to your favorite songs can also help lower cortisol levels.
5. Improves Focus
A healthy mind can focus on things, concentrating on those that the person thinks and believes essential to one’s personhood. That is why many healthcare experts believe a lack of focus is one of the earliest signs of a mental health issue.
Stanford University School of Medicine researchers say music helps the brain absorb new information a lot more efficiently. The mind also interprets new data with lightning-quick precision. While researchers cannot explain the mechanism, the study revealed music’s impact on focus and concentration.
Focus lets you accomplish many things, unleashing your creativity and improve the lives of your family and others.
6. Promotes Relaxation
There are at least three ways how music can promote relaxation. The first is its effects on stress levels, lowering the body’s production of cortisol and leading to less muscle tension. It can also improve sleep patterns, allowing you to feel well-rested upon waking up.
Researchers also say that music can impact brainwave activity, producing shapes similar to meditation and yoga.
The third reason hinges on music’s ability to make you happy. Feelings of happiness improve the release of dopamine and other mood-regulating hormones, making you feel more relaxed.
7. Improves Memory
Forgetfulness is one of the earliest signs of deteriorating cognitive function. Since cognition is an essential aspect of one’s mental health, poor memory can be a sign of poor mental health.
Numerous studies recognize music’s ability to improve cognitive processes, including memory, problem-solving, and critical thinking. In particular, people listening to Mozart’s classical masterpieces can complete given tasks more accurately and faster, too.
People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can also rely on music to slow down the degenerative process. Music allows them to enjoy life better, despite having episodes of forgetfulness.
8. Alleviates Depressive Symptoms
The world looks as bleak as ever, even without the pandemic impacting millions of lives globally. Losing a job or a loved one is enough to paint lives in a sullen blue. That is why many depressed people think about ending it all. Music can be the answer to your gloomy days.
A meta-analysis of various researches revealed that music could improve depressive symptoms, especially when listening to classical and jazz music. The same study found that group percussion sessions can have similar effects.
Music – no matter how sad – can still make you feel better by activating the brain’s pleasure and reward centers.
9. A Vehicle for Expressing Negative Emotions
Music lets you express your negative thoughts in ways that everyday conversations cannot. For example, if you feel resentment, you will feel more at peace with yourself when you express it in music instead of confronting the person.
If you are angry at someone, music can help you express that anger without physically, emotionally, or mentally hurting others. Dr. Cortney S. Warren of Psychology Today says that music allows us to describe the emotions we find difficult to verbalize.
We all know the consequences of openly expressing our negative emotions. People can get hurt, and relationships can go awry. Music lets us keep our valued relationships while keeping us sane.
Keeping one’s sound mind amidst the pandemic is not as challenging as it looks. You can always turn to music for inspiration and motivation, keeping your sanity as solid as ever. The nine things music can do to help improve mental health should encourage you to introduce music into your life, making it an essential part of your everyday routine.
Did you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts with friends...