What is your favorite song right now?
The odds are pretty good that a song you really love popped into your head as soon as you read the question. You might even have started humming or singing it. If it is an upbeat song, maybe you are dancing a bit in your chair. In fact, you might be tempted to head to your music library or favorite streaming service to hear your favorite song right away.
If so, don’t worry. We’ll wait.
Okay, now check in with yourself to see how you feel. There’s a good chance that thinking about, listening to, or singing your favorite song has given your mood a boost. After all, we are talking about a song you really love—and even if it happens to be a sad song, the fact that you love it is likely to mean it makes you feel a little bit happier even as it plucks at your heartstrings.
The mood boost provided by your favorite song is a simple but powerful example of a way in which music can help support your mental health. But it is hardly the only benefit that can be had from the intentional and regular interactions with music in day-to-day life. Let’s take a look at the variety of ways music can be helpful for those seeking to improve their overall well-being.
Music as Mood Booster Is Just the Beginning
So we have established that listening to music you love can improve your mood—a helpful life hack when you are feeling down, to be sure. But an improved mood is not the only mental health benefit that can come from hearing good tunes.
Here are some others:
- Music can help you sleep: Many, many people struggle to get the rest they need on a regular basis because they toss and turn at night. Maybe they are rehashing the past or worrying about the future. Whatever the cause of the sleeplessness, a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your overall well-being. Any soft, relaxing music can be helpful, but an increasing amount of music created specifically to help individuals fall and stay asleep is available.
- Music can help you exercise: Like sleep, exercise is an important part of maintaining our overall well-being—including our mental health. Up-tempo music has been shown to boost a person’s motivation and performance during a workout. Putting together that playlist of favorite upbeat songs can be a key aspect to getting into the groove when it comes to exercise.
- Music can help you manage pain: Chronic pain (or pain experience post-surgery) may be a physical experience, but it has an undeniably negative effect on a person’s mental health. The dangers of opioid painkillers are well known, so other methods of managing pain are often needed. Studies suggest that listening to music can be quite helpful as a strategy for lessening pain.
- Music can help you manage depression: Again, we have highlighted the ways in which music can provide a rapid boost to our mood when we are feeling blue. But depression is much more complicated than just a sense of sadness or a bad mood. Nevertheless, music therapy is a recognized approach to lessening the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. It is important, however, to choose music that contributes to feelings of well-being rather than music that causes a sense of edginess or angst.
Music as Part of an Overall Plan
We want to be clear here: We are decidedly not suggesting that listening to tunes will wipe away any and all mental health issues you may be struggling with. But music certainly can be a tool—one of many tools, including healthy eating, regular exercise, practicing mindfulness, and much more—that can be part of your plan for improving your mental well-being.
But as tools go, music is a pretty wonderful one. After all, you get the mental health benefits by simply doing something you likely already like to do: listen to music you enjoy. If you make listening to music an intentional part of your daily routine, you will be doing something both pleasurable and helpful. That combination should be music to your ears.
Peak View Behavioral Health Is in Tune With You
Many people struggle with mental health disorders and feel as though there is nothing they can do to feel any better. But help is available, whether you are dealing with a form of depression, an anxiety or panic disorder, a disorder sparked by trauma, or other issues.
At Peak View Behavioral Health, we provide compassionate and evidence-based treatment for mental health disorders (as well as substance use disorders). We are committed to listening with our full attention and to crafting a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs and improves your mental well-being. We will provide the tools, strategies, and support you need to more successfully manage a mental health disorder so that the driving melody of your life becomes a tune you are eager to sing along with.