The Influence Of Music On Mental Health: A Deep DivePosted by Mike Schumacher
Music is a universal language. Almost every society has some form of music, and most people consider music an important part of their life. For many, music is what brings them alive.
As we go through our everyday lives, we experience many things: good and bad memories, times of high and low energy, happiness and sadness, new experiences and repetitiveness, etc.
Music is a medium that can enhance all of these experiences. Whether you listen to music as you go about your day or you have it playing in the background while you work or sleep, it is easy to incorporate into your life.
As mentioned before, mental health is a major issue in today’s world. Many people suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among other mental illnesses.
The power of music on the brain
Music has a powerful influence on our mental health. It can put you in a good or bad mood, soothe anxiety and stress, and enhance your productivity.
Music is a universal language that people of all ages and cultures appreciate. You do not need to be musical or know much about music to enjoy it.
In fact, you might not realize how much you like music until you try out the best music apps for android. Then you will see just how many music apps there are and how many songs you have stored on your phone!
There is a growing body of scientific research into the psychological effects of music. Some findings include how music can induce nostalgia, how listening to certain genres of music can induce emotions like happiness or sadness, and how listening to music with rhythms can help sync up your brain waves to match the rhythm of the song.
However, different songs have different effects on the brain. Some songs may even boost your mental health.
Improving mental health
A recent study conducted by Northwestern University demonstrated the power music has on our mental health. The study surveyed nearly three thousand people and examined the role music plays in their lives.
They found that music was important in people’s lives, with most people listening to music at least twice a day for around thirty minutes. Almost half of those surveyed said they listened to music to improve their mood or mental health.
People also reported spending around two dollars per day on music, whether that be through purchasing songs or streaming services. This shows just how integral it is in people’s lives and the impact it has.
The researchers concluded that “Music is deeply embedded in our daily lives and can play an important role in enhancing our mental health,” said Daniel Jones, lead author of the paper and a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).
An important role music plays is in helping people to feel more relaxed and calm. Music can do this in a few different ways.
First, music can distract you from thoughts or feelings of anxiety. If you are listening to music you like, you are not worrying about what else is going on in your life.
Second, music can change your mood. If you select songs that make you feel happy or positive, then you will start to feel that way too.
Third, listening to music you like can be a form of self-care. Spending time listening to music you enjoy is something that makes you feel good, so it is worth it!
And finally, some research has shown that listening to upbeat music can actually increase your physical energy. If you like dancing, this may help reduce anxiety by letting you get out some of that energy.
One of the most common uses for music is to help people fall asleep. People who struggle to fall asleep typically use two main methods to induce sleep.
The first is by listening to very soft music or silence. However, this can be counterproductive if the music is too catchy and keeps you awake because you are listening too closely.
The second is to have very soft, soothing music playing in the background. This works well if it is not too long of a song, as then it will become boring and hard to fall asleep to.
Music can be helpful in falling asleep because of the calming effect it has on the mind and body. It signals to the brain that it is time to relax and sleep!
Music with a steady beat or rhythm can help signal the brain that it is time to relax. Songs with words may also help keep the mind focused on the song instead of thinking about other things that are keeping you awake.
Choose the right song for the job
Although music is a universal language, it can be difficult to find the right song for the right moment. You have to know what kind of music you like, what kind of music other people like, and what kind of music fits the situation.
For example, if you like rock music and someone tells you their life story, it would not be appropriate to play a heavy metal song with screaming vocals. That is not a very soothing sound and would not help their mental health.
Similarly, if someone just lost their job and is very depressed, putting on songs that are really upbeat and make you want to dance probably isn’t the best choice. While they may feel better for a moment, then they will realize they really don’t have a reason to be happy at the moment.
Singular songs can also have strong effects on people. If someone likes a song that is very sad or emotional but ends positively, they may feel better at the end of it even if they were feeling pretty low at the beginning.
Select soothing sounds
Let’s say you’re in a mood, and you want to listen to music. You want to listen to music that makes you feel better, but what kind of music is that?
If you are not familiar with music genres or do not have the time to dig into the vast ocean of music, then we suggest you pick soothing sounds instead.
What does this mean? Well, pick natural sounds like rainfall, waves crashing onto the shore, wind blowing through trees, or crickets chirping. Pick shakuhachi flute or zheng melodies instead of heavy metal guitar riffs. Pick soft piano keys instead of heavy bass notes.
All of these things are soothing sounds that will put your mind at ease.
Use a sound machine
A sound machine is a device that produces relaxing, soothing sounds to help you sleep, lull you into a relaxed state or distract you from outside noises.
Sound machines come in two main forms: white noise and natural sound. White noise sounds are machine-generated tones that blend together to create a loud, constant sound.
Natural sounds refer to things like the ringing of a waterfall or the chirping of birds. These are very popular settings on sound machines, as they are already compiled into neat loops.
Both white noise and natural sounds have their benefits. If you have trouble falling asleep but find yourself waking up earlier in the morning, then having a later start might require switching to a white noise setting. If you wake up early and need to get going, then having a more active start requires switching to the natural sounds setting.
Balance all five senses with music
Now that you know how important music is to our mental health, let’s talk about how to use music in your everyday life.
Start with choosing your songs. You can start with your favorite songs, ones that make you feel good, or ones that fit your mood or what you’re doing. You can also try experimenting with different music genres and eras- some even say that each era of music has its own mood.
Have a bunch of songs saved on your phone and computer so that you always have access to music you love. Add some earbuds or headphones so you can listen to music while you are working, moving around, doing things- you do not want to lose the benefit of music by taking it away from yourself!
Try having soft, calm music playing while you are doing things like cleaning, organizing, preparing food, etc., but also have some upbeat songs for times when you are doing more active things like exercising or moving around the house.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
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