Music & Mental Health
Music goes back in our history to our ancestors who weren’t Homo sapiens in our true form. It effects global culture and is also used very often as a means of expression. Many artists have used magical tunes in order to share their darkest times and thoughts.
I was really surprised to find out that there is such a thing as music therapy. Psychiatrists and psychologists use music and musical instruments in order to reduce the stress levels of their clients and to use them as a means of bonding. Here’s a story that would make the point clearer.
How It Helped Kyle
Kyle, a fifteen year old with a history of significant trauma was referred to a music-therapist. Initially Kyle would sit hunched with his mobile phone and found it hard to interact with his therapist. The therapist used Kyle’s mobile to listen to tunes and discuss what they meant to him. This made Kyle talk about his hopes for the future, school and his family. He slowly started writing his own raps and discussed the connections of the lyrics with his life experiences. After two years of therapy, Kyle became more optimistic and developed more understanding about the impact his actions can have on others. One year later, he was attending college.
It is basically a type of therapy where the therapist draw upon the innate qualities of music to support people of all ages and at all stages of their lives. A wide range of musical styles and instruments are used and it is often improvised. In an informal setting one would think that it is only said to have positive effects but this method actually uses the power of music to heal people.
Sometimes people find bonding with other people over music much simpler than other methods. Maybe a song you like, an artist you love or a band you both follow; anything can make two people best friends quicker than any ice breaker could. People often find solace in it and its deeper tunes when everything else seems to be going wrong.
People have been found to have lower stress levels when listening to music of their own taste. Has it ever happened to you that your mind was going a bit haywire and everything seemed irritating but you found yourself humming your favourite tune to help everything make sense?
Scientifically speaking, there haven’t been many studies that look into the effect of music of a person’s choice on their own mindset but there have been various other studies. Some studies came to the conclusion that it has a similar effect to the one of drugs in the neural rewarding system.
I always used to think that people who would suggest music as a therapeutic or stress reliever were mistaken. Now I have evidence that I was wrong before. Music does work and it has been shown to have positive effects. It always finds a way to resonate with the thoughts in our mind.
Hohmann, L., Bradt, J., Stegemann, T., & Koelsch, S. (2017). Effects of music therapy and music-based interventions in the treatment of substance use disorders: A systematic review. PloS one, 12(11), e0187363.
Music therapy and mental health – making positive, safe connections, British Association For Music Therapy