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Music for Mental Health and Healing

Music has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and physical pain.

Music is an extremely effective way to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and physical pain while boosting creativity and concentration. Have you ever plugged in your headphones while zoning out to the sound of your favourite song? Suddenly, you’re relaxed and content. Perhaps, you need a sudden boost of energy and turn on a motivational playlist. Many of us can feel ourselves slowly revitalizing after the music’s lyrics and sounds begin to play. Researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno, found that listening to music can change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. So, let’s look deeper into using music for mental health and healing.

You may be wondering if there’s a specific genre of music that has these effects or the length of time you should listen to it for, and how to implement it in your routine. Well, there’s a plethora of techniques when it comes to music and therapeutic effects. You can actually attend music therapy with an individual certified within that field. They are often trained in running sound baths (not an actual water bath) and other activities that have a healing effect on the body through music. However, we recognize that finding a licensed music therapist isn’t always accessible, given everyone’s unique circumstances. So, that’s why we’re here to help guide you through using music as a way to heal yourself as a part of your daily routine. 

You’ll want to gear the type of music you listen to depending on your mood. Below we’ve created a chart that can help you choose the best type of music for your current state of mind while also including links to examples of each sound. 

Emotions/Moods/Feelings Type of Music/Sounds  Effects Examples of Music  
Anxiety, Stress, & Panic. * Light Jazz, Classical, drums, & flutes. 
* If you prefer lyrical music, something slow that still distracts your mind would be beneficial. (i.e Frank Sinatra, who is known to have calming effects. But, whichever your preference is, don’t feel confine-d to these options!)
* Soothing effects, slows down heart rate, decreases blood pressure,  & calms down racing thoughts. Classical Music: 

Frank Sinatra Full Album: 
Depression * Energetic, upbeat tunes, empowering lyrics. 
* The most effective genres of music for depression are rock, pop, hip/hop, rap, reggae, and country.  
* Improves mood, helps one feel happier, and energetic. 
* Can help cope with upsetting thoughts and feelings. 

20 Songs To Help With Depression/Anxiety 
Physical Pain * Slow, soothing music is best for pain reduction. 
* Classical is a great choice, as well as upbeat pieces if you notice that helps you too. Similar to anxiety, anything that can help distract the mind is a great choice. 
* Decrease in painful symptoms. 
* When you’re not thinking about the pain, you won’t feel it as much. 
The Blue Danube Waltz” (proven by scientists to have positive effects lessening pain)
Creativity/Focus * Classical which has various genres such as contemporary, romantic, baroque and renaissance. * Listening to classical music is known to enhance studying, creativity, and productivity. Mozart Unlock The Creative Spirit 

Happy Classical Music
Sleep * Meditation type music, rain flowing, ocean waves
*contemporary classical, piano, slow/chill music such as jazz or even pop. 
* Lowers heart rate, relaxes body, releases dopamine which can help ease you into a comfortable sleep. Disney Relaxing Piano Collections. 

4 Hours Relaxing and Peaceful Instrumental Music 

How Long Should You Listen To The Music?

You don’t have to spend hours listening to music to gain the positive benefits. One hour a day is sufficient and likely to have great effects on your mental and physical health. 

So, use music to relax and implement it in whichever way you like for self-care. You can be cleaning, studying, sleeping, or working out when listening to music. There is no need to confine yourself to one spot. Use your creativity and whichever way works best for you when using music for mental health. For more information on engaging in music therapy, we’ve provided some resources where you can participate in that practice. 

Written by: Taryn Herlich

What is music therapy?


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