I have always found music to be something so infinite, yet so beneficial to my own mental health. There is a plethora of musical genres across the definition of music, similar to the vast range of emotions that we go through over the course of our lives. It can be said there is a song out there for every emotion we have felt, feel, and will ever feel in our lifetime.
With this being said, music can have lasting positive effects on our mental health. When we can’t find the words for how we feel, a melody might be able to describe it for us. When we feel lost, the lyrics of our favorite song may bring us a comfort that we never thought we could find again. Music can allow us to feel things that we have not been able to feel in a long time. It gives us permission to feel what we feel, without the judgment of others.
Music can also have short-term positive effects on anxiety and worry. Listening to music has been found to lessen the impacts of anxiety and depression, as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate. Music can equate to a distraction that temporarily alleviates many symptoms of mental health issues. Listening to music that is unrelated to what we may be experiencing can distract us from the negative symptoms or emotions we may be feeling. For instance, when going through a break-up, listening to songs unrelated to love or loss could distract us from the pain we may be experiencing. Classical music has been especially important in these scenarios. With the absence of lyrics, it leaves the listener to feel the emotion of the melodies, chords, and instruments, rather than the lyrics someone else had already written. This gives the listener freedom to decide what the music means to them.
In a less individualistic manner, music also builds community. Having a group of people with similar experiences is very important to feeling seen and heard. Communities based around music are especially lifechanging. When people form their own connection to an artist or a song, it becomes a piece of their history. A part of them they can remember for a lifetime. When others create a similar connection to that same song or artist, but for a completely different reason, there is a history to be shared between two people. These connections grow, out of a common interest, but a different life history.
I have always found that the deepest connections I have made with people have deep roots in a shared interest in a specific artist or song. We share our stories about our connections to these songs, sometimes some of the most intimate or vulnerable parts of ourselves, but because we know they also have a deep connection to the song, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to these people.
Allowing music to play a role in your life could leave you happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way. It can build relationships in ways that may have been difficult to navigate in the past. It gives you a way to remember specific moments of your happiest day or help you forget the hardest part of just another Monday. It can help you feel everything at all or help you leave behind what made you anxious in the first place. Give music a chance.