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How Music Heals and Inspires Us in Challenging Times

how music heals

Going through a difficult time in life and don’t know what to do next? Well, play your favorite song and you’ll feel calmer than usual. This is how music heals you. It is also referred as music therapy that calms our mind from stress and anxiety.

Want to know more about the benefits of music? Continue reading this article.

Here’s How How Music Heals and Inspires Us

KEY POINTS

Research shows that music, especially singing collectively, has positive social benefits.
Music has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety, even in high-stress jobs.
Music can help us to be resilient by reinterpreting difficult experiences to be less threatening.

Do you have a certain song that helps you weather your life’s storms? Whose lyrics capture your feelings, or whose beat shakes you out of your rumination? Do you listen to music to reflect your mood? Or maybe even to change your mood?

Think about how, during the dark depths of the early pandemic in 2020, people across Italy, Canada, and the United States would open their windows each evening and sing together. And how those in other countries also found ways to share music—including people singing together virtually online.

How Music Heals and Inspires Us in Challenging Times
How Music Heals and Inspires Us in Challenging Times

Their collective music-making was a remarkable testament to the human drive for survival. It was also a powerful reminder that our individual survival is linked to the solidarity we find in our shared humanity. Openly participating together in expressing the hope that keeps us going feels natural in the midst of a scary situation affecting everyone.

Related: 36 Most Relaxing Songs For Anxiety, Stress And Depression

What The Research Shows

Research suggests that singing together fosters both individual health and social bonds among those who join in. Put simply, the endorphins it releases in our brains make us feel good. They also increase our ability to tolerate pain—including emotional pain, like that we experienced seeing such disturbing pandemic images as the tractor-trailers used as overflow morgues in New York City because so many people were dying of COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic.

A group of scientists who met back in 2006 at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics noted that research has demonstrated that music with a strong beat stimulates the brain and ultimately causes brainwaves to resonate in time with the rhythm. On the other hand, low beats encourage the slow brainwaves that are associated with hypnotic or meditative states. Faster beats may encourage more alert and concentrated thinking.

How How Music Heals and Inspires Us
How Music Heals and Inspires Us in Challenging Times

Listening to music has been found to reduce stress and anxiety even in critically ill hospital patients. One study found that even front-line nurses—a profession already high in stress and higher than ever in the pandemic—can reduce their stress by taking a break and listening to soothing music. In the study, one group of nurses listened to soothing music of their choice for 30 minutes while the other group simply rested quietly in a chair for 30 minutes. Researchers found after the 30-minute rest the nurses who listened to music had lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, than those who had simply rested.

Recent research demonstrates that adding music to standard therapeutic tools made a difference for people with depression and anxiety compared with therapy without music.

How How Music Heals and Inspires Us
How Music Heals and Inspires Us in Challenging Times

Singing And Making Music Together Supports Resilience

Music, especially vocal music, has always been important to me. Ever since I was a boy, I have had an ear for human voices, able to recognize and distinguish individual singers by the unique tone of their voice. I’ve also had a knack for remembering song lyrics, meaning I can sing along with a lot of songs. Best of all, I have been blessed with a pretty good tenor voice, and I love to sing.

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John-Manuel Andriote

John-Manuel Andriote is an award-winning author, journalist, speaker, and health advocate. Since 1983 he has written about health and medicine, LGBT issues and popular culture. His latest book is Stonewall Strong: Gay Men's Heroic Fight for Resilience, Good Health, and a Strong Community. Drawing from his firsthand experience, as well as the research and interviews he has conducted on the subject of resilience, Andriote has developed a free online course called Becoming Stonewall Strong: Claim and Build Your Emotional Resilience. In early 2021, he expects to launch his new practice as a one-on-one personal resilience coach.View Author posts