As Mental Health Awareness Week draws to a close we thought we would take the opportunity to look at some of the psychological benefits music can have on your mental health and well-being.
Research has shown that listening to music releases the feel-good chemical dopamine in your brain, directly linking music to increased mood and happiness, especially when listening to songs/genres you enjoy.
Music can be extremely powerful in a number of respects, including the way in which it can help provoke and allow you to feel a range of different emotions. Not only can music make you feel happy, motivated and empowered it can also be an incredibly cathartic experience in helping to release negative, bottled up thoughts and feelings.
Overall, listening to music can be good for your well-being in the sense that it can provide entertainment and help lift your mood but equally it can help you to cope with difficult emotions.
Below we have written a list of the many different ways in which music can help aid your mental health and well-being!
Music Can Help You To Express How You're Feeling
This can be done through both creating and listening to music. If there comes a time when you're finding it hard to let out how you feel, why not try writing down those feelings and turning them into song lyrics or perhaps creating a beat or strumming a few chords on a guitar. It's not not about how it ends up sounding, it's more about how it makes you feel and you don't necessarily need to consider yourself a musician to do this.
Equally, if creating music simply isn't your thing sometimes listening to music can help to express how you're feeling. You may be able to find a song or artist who you can relate to, this way you can let them do the work for you in explaining your emotions or circumstance. It can be really therapeutic listening to someone else go though a similar situation or emotions and being able to empathise with them. Moreover, it can help you to feel less alone and provide a relief that someone else understands what you're going though.
It Can Help You To Focus
There has been numerous scientific studies suggesting that classical music in particular can help aid focus. Likewise, other studies have shown that House and electronic music have a similar effect in helping with concentration. The general troupe is that instrumental music played at a low/mid volume is the way to go. And if classical or electronic music isn't your thing, no worries, some research suggests it's more to do with the songs BPM (beats per minute) and that regardless of the genre tracks with around 60 beats per minute are good at helping the brain to process information more efficiently.
Research has also found that music can help to retain information and improve your memories performance, hence why when used properly, music can be a good tool to help aid work or study.
It Can Help To Relieve Hard Emotions Like Anger Or Sadness
As mentioned before music is incredibly powerful in helping us to feel and process different emotions. When you're feeling annoyed, listening to what's considered 'angry' music can help to let off some steam and process those emotions. Similarly, if your feeling down or upset, listening to sad songs can help bring out those negative feelings and/or allow you to cry, a healthy way to help reduce stress. This is alike to how some people watch sad films that make them cry when they are feeling down as it's a way to let out their emotions.
Music Can Help Reduce Stress Allowing You To Relax
Playing soft, mellow music is a known way of promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Music played at a slower tempo can help to relax both your mind and your muscles, which is why listening to music can be such a great coping mechanism when in times of distress. The fact it has the power to relax you in not only in a mental capacity but also in a physical sense too means it's an excellent way to help you unwind at the end of a long day.
It Can Provide A Sense Of Escapism
If you're going though a tough time or just simply having a bad day music can be a great way to escape from your feelings, even if it is for a couple of minutes. Playing uplifting/upbeat music or your very favourite song and having a dance around to it can help you loose yourself for a short while, a great distraction technique for when the outside world is weighing heavy on your shoulders.
Music is a very powerful neurological tool so instead of using music for solely entertainment purposes why not try implementing it into your daily routine more to help benefit your mental health and well-being! Why not try creating a series of playlists you can turn to when experiencing different emotions. For example try creating a playlist that serves the purpose of helping you to get up in the morning or another that helps you to let out frustration.
Alternatively, our live shows here at Croydon FM currently start as early as 10am and finish as late as 11pm throughout the week so you can always tune in if you're in need of some good music!
It's important to remember that even though Mental Health Awareness Week is coming to an end we need to continue to talk about Mental Health all year round, taking action and supporting both ourselves and others where it's needed.