Five Surprising Ways Music Can Help with Anxiety & Depression
When a person is diagnosed with a mental issue, they have a variety of treatment options. They might be prescribed medicine or seek counseling or treatment. Music may also be beneficial to some people. Music has been demonstrated to have a powerful effect on humans in studies. It can help with anxiety and sadness, as well as improve spatial awareness and mood. Here five surprising ways music can help with anxiety and depression.
Surprisingly, the type of music can have an impact. The University of Utah Pain Research Centre discovered that listening to music assisted people who were extremely nervous to feel less pain. A total of 143 people were exposed to electric shocks while listening to music. As a result, music appears to be effective in reducing pain by stimulating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways.
Study on Anxiety and Music
David Elia’s Research
David Elia and his colleagues did yet another study on anxiety and music. They sought to know which aspects of music were effective in reducing anxiety. Harmonious noises were determined to be the most soothing in the study, which included 84 participants. They even resulted in a drop in cortisol levels. However, listening to fast-paced music was found to raise anxiety, suggesting that the speed and style of music are very essential.
Another method that music might help with anxiety is through the writing process. Writing down your thoughts and participating in sports can help you feel less anxious. It may also be easier to express emotions through lyrics and music than through other means.
Reading lyrics that mean a lot to you can also make you feel better if you think about why they matter so much to you. So, we’ve seen how music may help with anxiety, but does it help with depression as well?
Jun Cellini’s Research
Music has the ability to modify your mood, so it’s not a surprise that it might have an impact on people who are depressed. Music, according to Jun Cellini, can help you express emotions and urge you to let go of suppressed ones. Positive peppy music can help you feel better, however slow and depressing music can make you feel worse. Also, listening to music connected with terrible memories may aggravate your symptoms; this, of course, varies from person to person.
Listening to sad songs might sometimes make a person feel better since they will feel less alone. Writing music has a similar effect on depression as it does on anxiety. Writing down your emotions might be quite beneficial in the fight against depression. As a result, composing poems or lyrics about your feelings can help you feel better.
Some Ways Music Can Help with Anxiety and Depression
It’s no secret that music can lift your mood and make you feel better, whether you’re listening to it or playing it yourself. But did you know that music can be just as powerful when you don’t even consciously hear it? In this article, we explore the role of music in our mental health, including how to deal with anxiety and depression through music therapy. The first step is knowing the power that music has on our brains and bodies, so keep reading to learn more!
1) Discover what helps you relax
While music may be a great way to cope with stress, it might not work for everyone. If music isn’t your jam, try spending some time in nature. Research shows that going for a walk in a park or natural setting can help reduce anxiety levels and improve mood. Meditation is another relaxation technique that can lower anxiety levels; even just practicing mindfulness through breathing exercises or meditation can reduce feelings of stress and depression. Whatever helps you relax and deal with stress will be different for each person, but incorporating more relaxing activities into your daily routine is an easy way to start addressing anxiety or depression symptoms right away.
2) Keep a playlist ready for when you need it
Having a playlist of songs ready to go can help you deal with anxiety or stress. It’s important to note that not all music will work for everyone, so experiment to see what tunes make you feel better. If certain songs help improve your mood, then keep them on hand when you need a boost; like many of these ideas, it’s about finding what works for you. Finding a song or group of songs that help make your body feel relaxed may be an effective tool in dealing with depression or anxiety.
3) Take care of your hearing
While it’s true that loud music can damage hearing, so can sound levels below 85 decibels. Regular exposure to high volumes of anything, from podcasts to friends’ voices, will cause hearing loss over time. So make sure you use some kind of noise-canceling headphones or earbuds if you spend a lot of time commuting or working in busy areas. Noise-canceling allows you to enjoy your music at lower volumes (and avoid potential hearing damage). Even more important, though, is listening to your body: If you find yourself feeling anxious after a certain song or movie scene—or even just emotional reactions in general—make sure to check in with yourself about what else might be going on for you that day.
4) Use music as motivation to exercise
Make your workout more fun by blasting some high-energy tunes. Research shows that listening to music while working out can help you exercise harder and longer, which means you’ll get a greater bang for your buck—and see faster results. Listening to music also helps relieve anxiety, making it easier to push through a tough workout. If you’re battling depression or anxiety, creating a running mix of upbeat songs might just be what you need.
5) Listen during meditations and deep breathing exercises
Listening to music while meditating or practicing deep breathing is a great way to make you more relaxed. Many people enjoy meditating with soft, nature sounds such as birds chirping in trees, waves gently hitting against the beach, or even rainfall slowly falling from clouds. If you don’t like meditating with white noise then try playing calming music that helps put your mind at ease. You can also download some free guided meditation audios online if you’re not able to attend meditation classes at your local yoga studio or health club. That said, there are many ways to incorporate music into your mediation sessions. Find out which one works best for you.
6) Sing your way out of depression
Music has an obvious effect on our emotions, but one study showed that music can literally alleviate depression. To test how music can be used to treat depression, researchers had women either listen to a 10-minute clip of happy classical music or no music at all. Afterward, they tested participants’ cognitive bias by showing them photos of fearful faces and measuring their reaction time. While listening to no music or alternative upbeat tunes—like pop songs with a techno beat—made things worse (fearful people reacted more quickly), it was only when participants listened to classical compositions that they performed as well as people without depression.
7) Try hypnosis apps
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, chances are there’s a free app for that. Apps like The Journey provide deep relaxation exercises in a soothing voice; Headspace offers simple meditations of your choice from 10 to 25 minutes long, and Buddhify helps those who feel they don’t have time with quick 3-minute practices. The more you use these tools, in combination with talk therapy and medication (if needed), will help your body heal over time. The key is to find an approach that works for you—and it can help if you know how to work with professionals, too.
8) Find some time alone in nature
A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine discovered that being in nature alleviates anxiety, reduces stress, and increases mental health. Another study found that natural environments like grasslands or forests can positively influence a person’s mood. Being around trees, plants, and water is said to help combat depression by lowering a person’s cortisol levels—the hormone associated with stress—and boost oxytocin levels in our brains. In case you’re not familiar with oxytocin, it is sometimes referred to as the love hormone for its ability to promote attachment between parents, children, partners… even dogs! (According to some dog owners we know.) Having access to nature makes you happier and healthier by reducing your stress hormone level.