How Music Can Affect Your Mental Health 

By Michaela Acuyado

“Music is the shorthand of emotion.”

 ― Leo Tolstoy

According to https://www.mentalhealth.gov, mental health relates to our emotional, psychological and social well being. They added that  it influences our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. 

That is why our mental health should be taken care of because it is the main control of our lives.  If our mental health is at its lowest, it’s either we are in great trouble for having a lot of issues, problems and sickness in life or we have already lost control of our right minds (psychopathic).

There are a lot of reasons why our mental health suffers. One common reason is emotional stress which commonly results in anxiety and depression.

According to https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/depression

Depression is defined as a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest which hinders, or worse, stops you from doing your normal activities. They added that different types of depression exist, ranging from minor to severe and generally results from a mix of events and factors.

According to studies, it is really hard to treat mental health problems, especially the well known depression. Yes, there are medicines given to treat imbalances of chemicals in our brain but it doesn’t mean healing is on the track.

Medicines or antidepressants only help lessen or relieve the symptoms of depression but it is not recommended for long term use. The reason is that there may be unwanted side effects that may occur along the way.

Aside from medications, there are also other ways that we can use to treat depression. We can opt for lifestyle changes or talk therapy or it could be Music therapy.

Talking about lifestyle changes, it involves a healthy and balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep and reduction or avoidance of stress.

All those activities and things or people that you believed are unhealthy for you, you should start to give up those things and refrain from doing or engaging in them.

Stress, as we all know, is the main reason for our sickness or diseases.

It contributes a lot of negativity and chemical imbalances to our mental health, altering it to function normally. 

By avoiding those things, situations and people that we believed cause stress to us really helps a lot to treat our unhealthy mental conditions.

Lifestyle change is a very effective way to manage our mental health as well as heal and  maintain its’ healthy condition.

Another way to treat our mental health problems like depression is through talk therapy.

What is this talk therapy? From the name itself, it involves talk or conversation but not to our own self. Here, we emphasize that in order to heal we should learn to talk to other people. It’s not about any important talk, it’s just a usual talk.

Talk here is all about expressing what you want to express – what you feel, what are you scared of – everything that you want to discuss and share that is making you feel heavy inside yourself.

You could talk to anybody including your family members, friends and even strangers. Some people will go to a psychiatrist and consult their mental health issues and will regularly be scheduled a session to them.

It is really important to express what we feel inside so it can lessen the stress we are experiencing and remove all the toxicity or negative emotions we have in our body. Having someone to talk to can relieve the feeling of anxiety and can help you forget your problems or mental health problems and will make you stronger and braver because you know someone is there to listen to you and help you.

And now, you wouldn’t believe it but there is what we call another way to help treat mental health issues. It is through Music therapy. Yes, you read it correctly – Music therapy!

What is Music therapy? How does it help in treating mental health issues?

According to https://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/ , Music therapy is  the clinical & evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

So how does it help in treating mental health issues? https://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/  added that Music therapy interventions can help in:

-promoting wellness, 

-managing stress, 

-alleviating pain, 

-expressing feelings, 

-enhancing memory

-improving communication

-promoting physical rehabilitation

-and many more.

Let’s focus on managing stress and expressing feelings. 

We cannot deny the fact that whenever we hear a certain music and we feel that we like that music or it is one of our favorite music, then automatically, we react positively to that music. 

When it is groovy music, automatically, our body moves and sways and dances to the beat and rhythm of that particular music.

Also, when a sad music is played and we can relate to that music, automatically, our eyes shed tears and we can be seen feeling sad or affected emotionally to that music.

With the above example, we can say that music has a role on our emotions or simply said it can really affect our emotions. 

Funny that music can sometimes trick us and play different emotions on us. It can make us happy, excited, nervous, relaxed, overwhelmed, sad, lonely, scared, irritated, etc., etc..

It is a visible fact that we react to any music we hear. Whether we react positively or negatively, music can control us and we can be carried away.

See? That is how powerful music is! It can create something in us.

Is it surprising to know all those benefits that we can get through Music therapy?

But the real question is how does music do all those things to us?

Studies suggest that when we hear a beat or a rhythm or sound, our brain nerves automatically react to it and are triggered to release chemical substances in the brain which makes us happy, sad or any emotions or effects  that chemical substance has on us.

For example, listening to relaxing music can alleviate stress because the brain sends signals to lower the cortisol levels, which is the hormone released in response to stress.

Just by knowing this, we can already say that music is such a powerful tool in keeping our mental health or treating our mental health issues.

Another study suggests that listening to relaxing music can help reduce pain in your body. This happens because the brain releases  chemicals called Opioids, which are our body’s natural pain relievers. So no wonder when you feel heartbroken and you listen to a relaxing music, you can’t feel the pain at all. Amazing, right?

It has been proven already that music has a powerful effect on our brain. With this knowledge, using Music therapy for our mental health is one of the best ways to keep it healthy.

Music can and will always affect our mental health. It is like they go together. It can affect more positively to our mental health by triggering our brain to release chemicals that can help manage our emotions and improve our health.

According to Billy Joel, “Music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” 

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