Depression is a mood disorder that affects more than 18 million Americans every year. Depression consists of symptoms such as loss of appetite or interest in activities and, as well as insomnia and the overwhelming feeling of being tired constantly. These types of signs can cause significant impairments to people’s everyday life. Therefore, if you find yourself feeling depressed or developing symptoms of depression, you should seek help immediately.
Music has a positive impact on our emotional and mental health, helping to uplift our spirits or comfort us in times of distress. It can be an excellent outlet for healing, and music therapists believe that music is a perfect option for improving mental health during recovery from depression and other mood disorders.
What is music therapy?
The simplest way to describe music therapy is that it is the practice of using music therapeutically to help people heal. You wouldn’t just simply listen to music - there is more to it than that. It incorporates writing music, singing, or learning the guitar and other instruments. It is a broad definition, but music therapy encompasses many factors and is used for multiple purposes.
Music has already been utilized since the early days to heal the body and soul. In ancient Greek, philosophers used music for patients with depression to help heal them. More modern music therapy in the 1940s was to help assist soldiers coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when musicians visited veteran hospitals. Doctors noted a positive emotional response by these soldiers and, in seeing these benefits that music offered patients, began to utilize musicians throughout the hospitals more often.
How can music help with recovery?
Music helps and works alongside treatments for depression, such as antidepressant medication. For example, if you struggle with clinical depression and take medication, adding regular music therapy at home can help increase the chances of feeling happier.
A study by Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Group in 2017 examined the effects of music therapy on those being treated for depression. The results showed that music does provide benefits for those battling mood disorders, improving many of their depressive symptoms.
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) lists multiple more studies performed that outline the benefits of music on people dealing with depression and anxiety. Some of the many advantages that music has provided include:
- boosts in confidence;
- reduced feelings of anxiety;
- decrease in muscle tension / stressful behaviors;
- more social interaction;
- increased motivation.
These promising achievements pave the way for music to be used for years to come. When used correctly and in various ways, it can help people regulate their mood and help heal, maybe even faster, after dealing with significant bouts of depression.
Using music in different ways
There are different ways that music can be used to help improve your recovery. If used actively, patients will compose their own musical works, possibly take music lessons and learn to sing or play an instrument. This type of treatment in recovery can also help a patient write down or voice their thoughts and feelings during the process.
When music is used more passively, patients can simply listen to music while doing various activities meant for reflection and healing. Some of these activities include meditation, exercise, painting, or drawing. Again, it helps the patient acknowledge their feelings and emotions, noting any shifts in mood.
Benefits of music on mental health
Music provides people with numerous benefits, allowing people to have an easier time in recovery. However, many of these also depend on either the type of music or utilizing the music to obtain the maximum results. Here are advantages that music can offer for those in recovery after depression.
- Concentration. Music can help the mind to focus better, but it depends on the type of music listened to, and this can vary depending on what type or style you favor more. Classical, meditative instrumental, or electronic dance music can help sharpen focus and increase the brain’s ability to process information.
- Regulating mood. Songs providing comfort and uplift also affect the brain by stimulating the release of endorphins, making people feel good, effectively boosting and regulating your mood, or uplifting it to a happier one.
- Relieve Stress. Meditative music, calming chants, or hymns have a way of helping people to relax and release tension. Music with strings such as the piano or violin is very effective in this fashion.
These are just a few ways that people can use music to aid in their mental health. Whether actively or passively using music, you can essentially help improve your recovery.
Music as a support for recovery
Do not mistake these fantastic benefits from music as a means of treatment. Mental health is a serious issue and should be addressed by your doctor or specialist. However, you can work with a music therapist or expert to help you identify how to use music during recovery to help you ultimately feel better and more relaxed. In addition, there are more in-depth studies for music being performed on how it can benefit the heart by increasing blood flow and building upon your social skills.
Music should be used to help enhance your overall health, a constructive coping strategy, and a lifeline to recovery from a negative experience. The results have shown that reducing anxiety and providing people with a sense of comfort can be an easy way to improve recovery after depression. Music is a powerful tool, so allow it to assist in your path to healing.