As A Wellness Tool
"Music can soothe the savage beast"
Music can also soothe mental health symptoms
This page is meant to offer a
perspective of the use of music as a wellness tool - It is well known that
music can inspire, soothe, and perhaps instigate all of our emotions. The goal,
of course, is to support and invigorate positive emotions but we cannot
realistically have this discussion without a stern disclaimer – that music can
also trigger negative emotions and memories. This page will offer some
strategies as to what to do when music make us melancholy.
First get a mindset going of what we want to happen – here is a list of positive emotions to start our jump start
free and easy
We’ve all done it. Turned on a love song when we’re feeling romantic. Turned on something lively when we’re cleaning house, working on the car, or exercising. Some of us even cry when certain songs come on with stories that stir our hearts.
Music plays a role in everyone’s life to a certain extent. Some more than others. Each of us has our own preferences, some of us a little more eclectic than others. But each of us reaches for music for one reason or another.
Creating the Musical Mood
Jazz is often played create a relaxing atmosphere over dinner. Rock ’n Roll or country is usually played in bars. Easy listening music is usually played in family restaurants. Even shopping malls and grocery stores have clued in to the effect music can have on their customers. Those stores aimed at drawing teens in will play the kind of music that teens like (usually much to the chagrin of their parents). Grocery stores typically play light/soft rock, something slow-paced to relax shoppers so that they shop at a slower pace and, by spending more time in the store, are more likely to buy more than what they went in for.
Musical Effects on the Mind and Body
Music affects the body in six main ways, according to eMedExpert.com.
1) Music can help manage or reduce the effects of chronic (osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis) and post-operative pain. Music distracts, provides the patient with a sense of control, releases endorphins that counteract pain, and relaxes a person by slowing their breathing and heart rate. It reduces blood pressure, the severity, frequency, and duration of migraines and chronic headaches, and increases the production of immune-boosting hormones and decreases cortisol levels, which can interfere with immune response.
2) Music enhances higher brain function such as reading and literacy skills, spatial-temporal reasoning, mathematics, emotional intelligence, memory. Music improves concentration and attention.
3) Music improves athletic performance as it helps reduce the feeling of fatigue. It reduces muscle tension, which in turn improves body movements and coordination.
4) Music can help energize a person who is feeling fatigued and improve productivity.
5) Music calms, relaxes and can help a person fall asleep (as is commonly seen with infants and young children). Music has also been shown to lower cortisol levels which, in addition to boosting the immune system, also reduces stress.
6) Music can improve a person’s mood and reduce the effects of depression.
The Science of Music
While most of a person’s brain functions all the time, many people tend to use one side at a time for any particular task – left brain or right brain. “Left brainers” are more logical, rational, analytical, objective, and tend to look at parts that make up the whole. “Right brainers” tend to prefer randomness, are intuitive and subjective, synthesize and look at information and the world around them as a whole. Generally, those who are left brained are more adept at thinking logically, analyzing, and accuracy, while those who are right brained focus more on the way things look and feel, and are creative.
Music is one of the few activities that involves the use of the whole brain, particularly for those who play an instrument or sing, as opposed to those who just listen (though listening has benefits, too). Using both sides of the brain maximizes learning and retention of information.
It is surmised by researchers at Arizona State University that music affects the levels of oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is a hormone that is known as the “love hormone” and is being investigated for its role in social recognition, bonding, and anxiety. “It evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security…” (www.wikipedia.com).
Music has also been shown to have an effect on serotonin levels. Higher serotonin levels help control memory power, learning, mood, sleep, body temperature, and arousal.
So whatever your mood, listening to the type of music your body craves, or finding the right kind of music to set the kind of atmosphere you need to relax, have a good time, or study, can make the world of difference.
By Darlene Oakley as published in EmpowHER
Perhaps one of the easiest ways choose song and music that will support you is to pick songs that you already like. Stay away from picking songs that you like but might be a booby-trap of bringing back negative memories of lost love, divorce, or death of a friend. Some times these thoughts cannot be avoided - so our advice is when that happens choose to think of positive memories. Why did we love that person? - what were the good times? what were the good memories and accomplishments of our lost friends - picture them in a good place of warmth and soothing light.
Check out these exciting links to other articles on Music and mental health.
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Pick some music that you are not familiar with such as classical and mood music - this page will offer some suggestions that you can add to your list of support music. Check out these links to helpful information about music and health.