Music Therapy for Depression

Today, we will be sharing with you five interesting ways that music can affect anxiety and depression. When someone is diagnosed with a mental illness there are many forms of treatment they can choose from. They may take medication or go to counseling or therapy and some may also find that music helps them. Research has shown that music can have a strong effect on us; it can alleviate anxiety and depression, increase spatial awareness, and enhance mood.

The Genre of the Music

Interestingly the genre of music can be important as well. Researchers from the University of Utah pain Research Center have found that listening to music helped to reduce pain in those who were highly anxious. A hundred and forty-three participants listened to music while receiving electric shocks. It seems therefore that music is good in helping with pain by activating sensory pathways to compete with the pain pathways.

The Characteristics of the Music

Another study looking at anxiety and music was conducted by David Elia and his colleagues. They wanted to determine what characteristics of music actually helped lower anxiety. The study had 84 participants and it was found that harmonious sounds were the most relaxing and they even led to a decrease in cortisol. However, it was also found that listening to fast-paced music increased anxiety and so it would seem that the tempo and type of music are very important.

The process of Writing it

Another way music can affect anxiety is through the process of writing it. Writing down music can help alleviate the anxiety around them. It might also be easier to talk about feelings through lyrics and songs than in other ways. Also, reading lyrics that mean a lot to you can help you feel better if you analyze why those lyrics mean a lot to you. Learn more.

Does Music Also Have an Effect on Depression?

Listening to music can change your mood so it’s probably not surprising it can influence people with depression. Jun Cellini states that music helps you to express emotions and can help encourage you to let go of suppressed ones. Positive upbeat music can help lift your mood while slow and sad music might increase your depression. Also, listening to music associated with bad memories may make your symptoms worse. This depends on the individual of course. Sometimes, listening to sad lyrics can help an individual feel better as they may feel less alone. Like with anxiety, writing music can also have an effect on depression. Writing down your feelings can be very helpful in fighting depression. So writing poems or lyrics about your feelings can help reduce depressive symptoms. Writing out the feelings can be a form of release and has been known to prevent suicide and self-harm.

Generally, music therapy is either passive or active. In active therapy, the patient and the therapist compose music using the voice or an instrument. The patient is then encouraged to share their feelings and thoughts that may surface with the composition. The patient listens to music while drawing, meditating, or doing some kind of reflective activity in passive therapy, the patient and the therapist then talk about the memories and feelings evoked by the music.