Ever wonder why when times are hard, it seems like only music can help ease the pain? The same goes for when you’re feeling on top of the world -- there’s nothing like an upbeat song to make you feel like you’re “Walking on Sunshine”! Going through a breakup? Just got promoted at work? Having an exceptionally fantastic or horrible day? There’s a song for that! No matter your state of mind, whether you’re at an all time high or a deep dark low -- music is there to enhance the feeling.
It’s been proven that listening to music or playing an instrument, can have a direct impact on a person’s life and overall mood. But, to what extent? Often times, happiness will get pushed passed the point of a simple smile, and sadness will move beyond just feeling down. A song’s lyrics -- or the mere melody -- can evoke emotions much more amplified than that.
Studies show that music plays a critical role when it comes mental and physical health. Amy Osmond Cook, well known writer and editor for several publications, has found that it helps when battling depression and/or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Music has also been found to help with speech development, physical wellness through exercise, and even social interaction.
Music, the medicine
A study published in the British Journal of Psychology tested patients with depression who were treated with music therapy. The authors have found that the “active doing” of physically picking up a musical instrument and playing it was critical for patients to find a meaningful way of dealing with their issues. The act of playing an instrument, and making consonant, aesthetic melodies helps music therapists to promote and restore proper mental and physical health for the patient.
We tend to view music in a positive light, shining optimism on sad, eerie moods. But, sometimes people like to dwell in their sorrows and self-pity. After a breakup or losing a job, while some seek comfort in uplifting distractions, others enjoy wallowing in their misery by reciting songs with a relatable message and drawing parallels to their own lives and unfortunate realities. Anyone who has ever been dumped has likely relied on music to help “get over it” -- how you may ask? Some get dressed up to go out and dance their pants off, while others choose to sob in bed with Adele playing in the background, hurting more and more with every word she sings. Another great option is to rock out with Nirvana, allowing yourself to release all the anger that was bottled up inside of you. Whichever method best suits you, it’s clear that music is an excellent remedy for heartbreak, or a comparable devastation.
Memories through melodies
Beyond providing patients with an aesthetically pleasant sound, music therapy can tap into one’s subconscious psyche. In doing so, a certain song or beat can help patients with Dementia recover certain memories. By their responsive facial expressions, music therapists are able to study their associations. They can therefore distinguish whether the song is being linked to a happy or a sad memory.
With these types of tests, it becomes evident that the music is facilitating not only their cognitive functions, but it’s helping to coordinate their motor movements as well. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America have noticed that “stimulative music” (upbeat songs) promote natural movements such as tapping their toes. This type of music is good to keep patients alert and awake, as well as to facilitate transitions (for example, going from lunch to their rooms). “Sedative music” on the other hand, are slower songs, like lullabies. These are great for bedtime rituals and introducing any new routines that may upset them.
With music having a direct hit on our emotions and memories, let’s give artists the praise that they so rightfully deserve for being our friends, our mentors and our therapists through it all! By helping us overcome certain struggles or simply joining in the celebration of our latest triumphs and achievements, music artists and their sweet sound are always there when we need them most. Pass along Taylor Swift’s breakup songs or The Beach Boys’ happy songs to your loved ones going through hardships or accomplishing goals. No matter the genre, no matter the mood, no matter the era; music transcends generations through love and pain.
Listen to Revolsmusic “Happy Days” playlist and keep a smile on your face with some #MusicMotivation!