Music is often all around us. Whether we hear it on the radio when we drive, in stores, in movies or in our headphones, music plays a significant role in our lives. In fact, it can even have healing effects for individuals struggling with a mental illness or physical ailment. Here’s how.
Featured image Dean Drobot
Biologically speaking, music affects our bodies. Studies show that it can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. It also increases dopamine levels, the neurotransmitter in the brain associated with feelings of reward and pleasure. These positive physical effects can affect an individual’s mental health too.
Positive messages in lyrics and upbeat instrumentals can lead to positive thinking and behaviors, studies suggest. They can even lead to increased feelings of empathy towards others and a giving attitude, all of which are healing for an individual.
Music connects us with others. Whether we are watching a concert with a group of friends or listening to a piece solo in our room, music helps make us feel connected. This feeling of connectedness can be helpful for those who are experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are common symptoms for those suffering from mental illnesses.
There are so many diverse genres of music, and understanding our tastes and sharing these with others allows for individual self-expression. This can be very empowering which in and of itself is healing.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say—we might not have the words or ability to express how we feel. Music can help. In fact, it’s often used as a form of therapy to help individuals share what they are feeling with others which can be a very healing practice.