The Therapeutic Power of Music: A Potent Antidote for Various Psychological Issues

    The Therapeutic Power of Music: A Potent Antidote for Various Psychological Issues

    Ever wondered what other capabilities music had on humans apart from its popularly accepted view as a form of entertainment?

    Ever heard the phrase, “Music is food for the soul” and does it make any sense to you?

    Well, sit back, grab a cup of coffee or anything you can lay your hands on, turn on some soft music, take a deep breath and relax yourself as we go on a pleasant voyage of enlightenment as regards the potent abilities of music on the overall well-being of the human soul.  

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    According to Deborah Bradway “Music has a power over the body, a language that possesses an inherent nature to make us feel.” Music has a way of opening our hearts and helping us feel more connected to others, to ourselves, and to the world around us. As a result, it is a direct line to our emotions and state of being.

    Music could serve as both therapy and cure to various psychological conditions ranging from low self-esteem to acute depression. As it has been observed to give one the ability to harness the capabilities of others, who are connected in the cycle of music. Whether you’re listening to it or making it, “music connects us to someone outside of us,” says Tim Ringgold, a music therapist. In other words, it is like a mutual friend. Therefore, it becomes something that we share with almost everyone. Moreover, music is a collaborative and cooperative activity. Playing music with others automatically creates connection, as the group works together to keep the beat and stay in harmony.

    Consequently, it has been used as a therapeutic intervention since the late 18th century. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a physician, and psychiatrist, was an early proponent of and the benefits of music therapy for medical conditions. In the early 20th century, physicians, musicians, and psychiatrists used music as a treatment aid in a variety of setting. Today, music therapy is a scientifically proven intervention. Hence, it is used for multiple physical and mental health conditions – from Alzheimer’s and autism to depression and substance abuse.

    Furthermore, music therapy opens up avenues for communication that transcend the limitations of verbal expression. Consequently, this form of therapy can be particularly impactful on teens. Additionally, it is used to enhance emotional balance. While also providing insight into feelings below the surface that need to be expressed.

    Also, when we listen to heartfelt lyrics and emotional melodies, it reminds us of our shared human experience. “Contrary to what people think, sad music doesn’t make you sad,” Tim Ringgold says. “It shows you that you’re not alone.”

    There are two different forms of music therapy which are active and receptive. In active music therapy, the therapist and the client(s) create music with instruments, their voices, or other objects while in receptive music therapy, the therapist plays or makes music as the client listens.

    Music has lots of potential benefits. When properly harnessed it could help achieve:

    1. Positive changes in mood and emotional states
    2. Enhance sense of control over life by having successful experiences
    3. Increased awareness of self and environment
    4. Expression of oneself both verbally and non-verbally
    5. Develop coping and relaxation skills
    6. Supports healthy feelings and thoughts
    7. Improve reality-testing and problem-solving skills
    8. Social interaction with others
    9. Develop independence and decision-making skills
    10. Improvement of concentration and attention span
    11. Adopt positive forms of behavior thereby creating positive outcomes of such as – reduced muscle tension Improved self-image, Better self-esteem, decreased anxiety/agitation, more skillful verbalization, enhanced interpersonal relationships, increased motivation etc.

    Thinking about the future and all its uncertainties can create fear and anxiety. Moreover, thinking about the past can bring up shame, guilt, anger, or resentment. However, music helps people stay right here, right now, in the present. There are only three places you can be in your mind—past, present, or future. Your attention determines your experience. As a result, when people play and listen to music, they focus their attention on what they’re experiencing at the moment. This increases their level of well being. And mindfulness is scientifically proven to boost mental health.

    Music has a way of keeping you in the present so that you can keep up with the volume, the rhythm, and the timing. Therefore, you don’t necessarily need an instrument. In fact, dancing, singing and clapping all offer the benefits of music therapy.

    So next time when you want to go on a creative brainstorming session,  get out of that state of depression or need a boost in motivation levels, don’t forget to turn on the music and allow the musical muse to perform her supernatural art of euphony on your soul.

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