Music therapy has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people seeing the value of what music brings to our lives, whether that be stress relief, mood boosting or channelling your creative streak.
It’s being adopted by many professionals to combat issues and aid patients across the likes of chronic pain, cancer and addiction, with even NHS alcohol rehab centres recommending it to patients.
But what is the value of music therapy and why could it be the right option for you?
1. It allows you to express your emotions
Not everyone can communicate their emotions verbally that well. It can be a daunting experience. However, music has a brilliant ability in evoking and expressing emotions.
It’s a vessel that through creating music, listening to it or engaging with it, people can navigate their emotional language in a supported environment, with therapists able to unwrap your emotions and allow you to understand them better.
Interestingly, you can also record any music you may be creating and revisit it over time to try and unlock what you were feeling at certain time, finding trends and being able to develop coping strategies as a result of that.
For example, you may find that the music you are creating is much more aggressive on certain days of the week or after certain meetings you may have at work. You may find that after seeing certain friends or family members your stress is heightened which is expressed in your music or, alternatively, it’s much calmer and more relaxed after seeing certain people.
2. It reduces stress and promotes relaxation
Music can be incredibly soothing and you probably don’t need us to tell you of its healing powers when it comes to stress. In fact, you’ll even find many playlists on Spotify that are built purely for stress relief.
Listening to such music allows people to enter a state of mindfulness, taking attention away from stressors and promoting a more tranquil mental space. What’s more, it’s a relaxation tactic that can be used anytime, anywhere once you’ve learned how to do it through music therapy.
You don’t need music therapy necessarily to get the mindfulness benefits of music, but rather find yourself a cosy spot at home, in a park and switch on the right playlist for you. It may be that you even listen to these kinds of playlists while out running or walking, offering a brilliant escape from the real world and bringing a sense of calm to whatever activity you’re undertaking.
For those listening at home, you can really create a relaxing atmosphere to stir the senses into a mindful state, not just through the music but the sights and smells with dimmed lighting, candles lit and creating an environment to truly drift off in.
3. It’ll improve your cognitive function
Music is also scientifically proven to increase your cognitive functioning, particularly when it comes to playing it. It can influence memory, attention span, and your problem solving skills, which is especially good for people who do face cognitive challenges.
It can trigger memories, as well as improve things like hand-eye coordination, with people required to do multiple things at the same time when it coems to playing the likes of piano and guitar.
If that sounds like a good option to you, it may be useful for you to seek professional help to uncover exactly what instrument would be most beneficial to you. You can then seek out tutorage, either by visiting therapy regularly or after therapy hiring someone, which can be done either by video call or by going to the likes of weekly classes.
4. You’ll connect with people more…and music
Music has the power to transcend language barriers and really aid communication skills. It can become a medium to communicate with others in music therapy, especially when it comes to making music together, with collaboration and timing key. This helps people connect with one another, building trust and providing a sense of community.
Many people enjoy group music therapy much more than one-on-one as it provides an encouraging environment for an activity that can be difficult to pick up initially. That environment can therefore offer a support blanket and ensure that challenges are taken on as a collective rather than feeling quite alone with it.
That has a knock-on effect to everyday life, overall allowing people to connect on a much deeper level and transform relationships, which can be especially important for those going through the likes of depression or having suffered trauma.
5. It’ll set you on a pathway of self discovery
Finally, music therapy can act as a medium for self discovery. A journey of self discovery in which you’ll almost certainly never look back. On your therapeutic journey you’ll have certain targets and concerns you want to address, and through music you can find the best and most effective ways to address them.
However, by engaging with different genres and styles, it’ll provide you with even more you didn’t know about, opening your mind across all aspects of your life, trying new things and becoming much more self-aware.
You may connect with musical genres you never knew you would, find coping mechanisms you didn’t expect to work. Heck, you may even form a band!
You really will find yourself and that can be so advantageous when it comes to every single aspect of day-to-day life, particularly in the likes of the workplace and facing new challenges head on.
Does that sound good to you? If you’re struggling with your mental health or believe you can gain some real value in learning an instrument then look online and find your nearest music therapy class.
Alternatively, if you believe that you need more help, particularly when it comes to mental health issues such as addiction, reach out to your healthcare professional who will be able to provide treatment, guidance and introduce you to music therapy, where your life really cound change forever. And for the better…