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The Impact of Music on Mental Health

By Karis Fields

Photo: Independent – Source

For most people, music is a part of their everyday life. They may listen to music on their commutes, while they’re working out, in the shower, while they clean, and during work. Oftentimes, people will listen to music as a source of entertainment. There are also those who make music as an outlet for their creativity. Researchers have suggested that listening to music will benefit your mental health and overall wellbeing. This is what scientists describe as music therapy.

Music therapy is said to help with various health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Additionally, music therapy also helps with some of the more negative aspects of neurodivergence (ex. helping someone with adhd focus and easing sensory overload in someone with autism).

Verywell Mind cites various forms of music therapy. Analytical music theory encourages people to engage in improvised music “dialogue” through making music (either vocally or instrumentally) in order to help with expressing unconscious thoughts. Benenzon music therapy combines concepts of psychoanalysis with music making. This type of therapy has patients identify their “musical sound identity” by connecting external sounds to their current state of mind. Cognitive behavioral music theory is a structured approach that uses music to reinforce and modify specific behaviors through listening to music, dancing, singing, or playing an instrument. Community music therapy is done within a group and encourages others to use music as a way to facilitate change within their community. Nordoff-Robbins music therapy, also known as creative music therapy, has the patient playing an instrument while the therapist accompanies them using their own instrument. The Bonny method of guided imagery and music functions through the simulation of the imagination by listening to classical music in order to identify emotions. Finally, vocal psychotherapy is used to help a person gain a deeper connection with themself through different vocal exercises.

Music is seen as a sort of medium for processing negative emotions such as trauma and grief. It also works as a calming force for people. Music helps in improving one’s physical health as well.

Music can be used as a mood booster. Listening to music that is happy and upbeat produces the neurological chemicals of dopamine and serotonin, also known as the happy chemicals. Music also plays a big part in relieving stress. Musical intervention can help others feel less stressed while also decreasing drastic bodily responses to stress. As mentioned before, music can also help in improving focus. ReachOut suggests that listening to music with a tempo of 60 bpm helps in increasing the brain’s ability to process information. It helps in improving cognitive performance. A study done by Frontiers found that music can lead to improvements in processing speed and benefits to memory.

There’s a playlist made for pretty much every mood. Research proves just how beneficial music is to those who listen to it. Music can help a person get through so much. Need a motivator to work out? Listen to some fast paced music. Just went through a breakup? The music of Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, and Adele have got it covered. For some, music is considered the universal language due to how some songs convey emotions that the listener may not be able to define themselves. It only makes sense as to why it is used as a form of therapy.


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