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Has music ever sent chills down your spine? Has a song ever spoke to your soul due to its breathtaking melody or profound lyrics? Music has become an influential part of our day-to-day lives. It is so powerful that it can fill us with joy or make us cry just by a change in tune. Music helps us communicate emotions when words fail to. Studies show that music is powerful enough to be used as a healing tool for those who are struggling with mental illness or recovering from an addiction.

The Impact of Music on Mental Health

Many research studies have shown the benefits music can have on certain mental health conditions, such as depression and mood disorders, anxiety, and trauma. Music can help us process emotions, grief, and trauma while also acting as a calming agent for anxiety. Due to the rhythmic and repetitive nature of most songs, music can be used for mood regulation. This prevents impulsivity and can keep the listener calm. More often than not, we chose to listen to songs that match our moods. While this is helpful for keeping us calm or happy, listening to depressing music when already depressed can keep us stuck in that same negative mindset. It is important to listen to upbeat music that will only elevate your mood if you are in a depressed state of mind.

Analyzing lyrics can encourage new ideas and help process thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Examining the tone or message of a song may also guide the listener to realize new ideas or emotions about the obstacles in their life. And why settle for just listening to music? Songwriting is a therapeutic and creative way to express any kind of emotion or thought. Writing and performing a song, even just for yourself, can be very validating and fill you with a sense of pride.

How Music Aids Addiction Recovery

When in recovery, it is important to identify with something other than alcohol or drugs. Clarity from substance abuse is no doubt a good thing, but some may suffer from lasting urges. Music provides an outlet for self-expression and can be a new activity to identify with. People in recovery need to care for their emotional health and make sure they are not bottling up any thoughts or feelings. Music is a perfect way to express everything going on in your head in order to avoid relapsing.

Recovering from any kind of substance abuse is stressful mentally and physically. To avoid unnecessary stress on our mind and bodies, music can be used as a way to keep calm. Listening to peaceful music of your choice can keep your stress levels down when you are beginning to feel anxious or overwhelmed. 

The early stages of recovery are often the hardest. Life may feel foggy or slow, and many people at this point can be easily irritated, even with themselves. The good news is that playing music can help us sort through the cloudiness and improve coordination. No matter the instrument, practicing playing music increases hand-eye coordination and improves the connection between mind and body. Cognitive functions will become sharper and reaction times become much quicker.

While talk-therapy can be used for the discussion of topics that are hard to process, music therapy provides an alternative approach to handling thoughts and emotions. If you are interested in experiencing the benefits music can provide for your mental health, guided music therapy may be a great option for you.