Three Unique Ways Music is Self Care

Three Unique Ways Music is Self Care

Music as Self Care

I love, love, love listening to music! If I’m in an environment that allows music, my Spotify is probably pulled up and playing one of my favorite playlists. I’m *also* that person who drives through town with her windows down, singing and dancing without abandon.

Music is fun, but music can be so much more of a benefit to our health and well-being. Here are three things you may not have known about music as self care.

1. Sad Music Can Make You Happy

Wait, what? Yes! Sad music can make you happy. Sad songs (like that Adele song you played on repeat last summer) have the ability to be a source of comfort.

Researchers have found that, for many of us, sad music can act in a similar way to more upbeat music.  We may tend to listen to music that reflects our mood (or what is going on inside of us). In that case, music is like “an empathic friend.” And guess what friends do?? They tend to make us feel more at home…and happier!

Similar research has found that people tend to listen to music during a difficult time with a relationship (like a breakup or a lost friendship). This probably isn’t that surprising! Especially when you remember that music can act like a friend that just *understands* you.

So don’t feel bad about that sad song you’re listening to…especially if it is bringing you comfort.

Read more about this research here.

2. Music Can Reduce Anxiety

Okay, let’s be fair…you probably already knew that certain music helps reduce anxiety. In fact, you’ve probably already used music for some form of comfort or relaxation.

But did you know that music has been used in clinical settings to reduce anxiety…and its been shown to be really effective? Researchers Cooke, Chaboyer, Schluter, and Hiratos found that when individuals listened to music before an outpatient procedure, they were much less likely to be anxious. So cool! Read more about that research here. 

In the future, if you ever have a medical procedure done, pay attention to see if any music is being played.

But what does that mean for your every day life?

It means that music can be so, so good for you! Maybe try listening to music before a big exam, office meeting, or other anxiety causing event. For me, that might mean listening to music before (and during) a drive through a winter blizzard. Whatever works! You know what music you prefer to listen to and what helps you feel most relaxed…use that knowledge!

3. Music Therapy

Did you know that music is such a powerful tool that there is an entire therapy based around music?

Of course, with any therapy, this is something that must be done with a licensed professional.

What does music therapy do?

According to the American Music Therapy Association, here are a few ways music therapy can help:

  • promoting general wellness
  • promoting relaxation
  • reducing stress
  • helping improve memory
  • helping relieve pain
  • improving communication
  • promoting physical rehabilitation

Music goes far beyond a simple stress reliever! It can help improve several aspects of our well-being, including our physical and social health.

Want to know something even cooler? Music therapy can be applied to individuals within certain populations (like trauma, ADHD, military, or autism). Some schools even offer music therapy to students.

Music therapy is versatile and effective. I say that’s a win-win!

Interested in music therapy? Or what it might take to become a therapist?

Talk to your therapist/PCP/psychiatrist about exploring music therapy. And…click here to learn more about music therapy (and how to become a therapist).