Ever listen to an upbeat tune like “Walking on Sunshine” and feel more energetic or how about the solemn sadness that comes on with “Tears in Heaven”? Music can trigger emotions and help recall experiences and memories. Music therapy is defined as listening, playing or teaching music to reach optimal health while overcoming distress and disability. Many surgeons play their favourite music while operating to relieve stress but research has found that their patient’s also benefit with better surgical outcomes. Listening to music causes our brains to release Dopamine which is a natural feel good chemical that is essential for a healthy nervous system and can affect emotion, perception and movement.

The Healing Power of Music

  • Improved Mental Health.
    • Listening and playing music has been associated with improved moods, increased social interaction and even better concentration. Must do daily!
  • Pain Reduction
    • Chronic pain sufferers recorded not only reduced pain but longer periods of pain relief during and after listening to music of their choice.
  • Building positive communities
    • Songs can be motivators and anthems that connect people with common goals and inspire social change. Think “Waving Flag” by K’naan which raised over a million dollars for Haiti following a devastating earthquake, 10 years ago.
  • Restoring Speech
    • Music therapy can help people recovering from left sided brain injury  or stroke by stimulating the right brain to relearn speech through singing.
  • Improve quality of life for people with Dementia
    • Even when words and action can’t soothe a loved one, music will bring calm, improve hand coordination and evoke pleasant memories.

What kind of Music is best for You?

Question: Are you having trouble sleeping?

Answer: Tune into Classical music at bed time let yourself fall asleep to Brahms. If you have a timer on your music source, set it so that it will turn off after you fall asleep. Bliss.

Question: Are you feeling tired and listless?

Answer:  Look for upbeat music that’s not too overwhelming or complex but has a melody. Jazz can be a good energy booster and Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good” is perfect because it starts where you are and then just picks you up.

Question: Are you feeling down, a bit blue?

Answer: Try listening to music with lyrics that are hopeful and a really good crescendo that builds brain stimulation. Everything from “Let it Go” from Frozen to “A Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga and “Wake Me Up” by Aloe Blacc.

Let’s turn down the outside noise of news and announcements and tune into your inner music monster for some soul healing

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Resources:

Great article in the New Yorker  January 2018https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-healing-power-of-jazz

Good Summary of the Psychological Benefits of Musichttps://www.verywellmind.com/surprising-psychological-benefits-of-music-4126866

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