Updated: 2020, Sep 24

This is The Reason Why Music Therapy is Proven to Overcome Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression can be debilitating and can affect your life. Find out how incorporating music can help you cope with it and improve your overall wellbeing.
This is The Reason Why Music Therapy is Proven to Overcome Anxiety and Depression
Music therapy is an evidence-based clinical use of musical interventions to improve clients' quality of life. Image via Shutterstock

If you are challenged with anxiety and depression, you are not alone. Studies show that depression affects over 300 million people worldwide and anxiety affects 1 in 13 people globally.

Depression and anxiety are the two most common types of mental illness and can show up in many ways.

They can stem from genetics, environmental factors, childhood trauma and even from brain injuries and memory loss.

Symptoms can be debilitating and can affect your everyday function within your relationships, at work, at school, and in other daily activities.

Symptoms can include:

  • Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, anxiousness, sadness, and helplessness that you can’t shake off.
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to give you pleasure.
  • Sudden changes in appetite, weight, and sleeping patterns.
  • Thoughts of ending your life or actual attempts at suicide.
  • Higher than normal feelings of anger, irritability or an inability to cope.

There are many other symptoms that can show up when you are feeling depression and/or anxiety. There is hope.

Not only are there treatment plans for depression and anxiety through the traditional medical system which can offer resources to manage and reduce your symptoms.

There are also other more holistic treatments that you can consider helping alleviate and even illuminate depression and anxiety from your life.

A popular form of an alternative method for helping with symptoms of depression, anxiety and even improving memory is through music therapy. Music has been around for centuries.

Music helps release endorphins which are the ‘feel-good’ hormones in your body. Lack of endorphins can cause depression and anxiety.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is also referred to as active music therapy as well as passive music therapy and has been shown to naturally lower symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

Music therapy is now being implemented in hospitals, schools, therapy, universities, hospices, and special needs programs as a more holistic option than using mind-altering drugs like antidepressants.

Music Therapy is usually performed one on one or in a group setting. Active and passive music therapy differs in the involvement and interaction between a music therapist and you.

In active music therapy, the therapist usually helps you by being more hands-on with instruments getting you to become more active between you and the relationship of the instruments and how it makes you feel.

In passive therapy, the therapist helps you by playing calming relaxing music and inviting you to visualize by focusing more internally.

A licensed and trained music therapist can work with you to create the best program for you, your needs and your comfort zone.

Evidence shows that Music therapy whether passive or active can have many outcomes on your body and mind.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Improves self esteem
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Improves interpersonal relationships
  • Increases motivation your motivation
  • A safe outlet for emotional release

If you want to find ways to use music at home or in your community before committing to professional music therapy or in between your therapy sessions, there are many ways to do so.

The following are some of the top ideas for you to help improve your anxiety, depression and overall wellbeing.

5 Ways to Incorporate Music into Your Life to Help with Anxiety and Depression

1. Listen to Music That You Enjoy Listening To
Ever hear a song on the radio and it brings you back to a memory that puts a smile on your face? That’s why it is a good idea to listen to music that helps improve your outlook on your life and in tune with more positive emotions.

You might feel like listening to a song to put you in a state of relaxation and at other times, you may want to listen to something more upbeat.

2. Focus on Lyrics of the Songs That You Are Listening To
A good way to stay mindful when you are feeling anxiety taking over is to ponder on the lyrics of the songs that you enjoy listening to.

This is a great tool for when you need to find ways to not only stay in the moment but grounded in yourself.

3. Write a Song That Reflects Your Feelings
Another good way to stay focused on the present moment is to write a song. Writing has been documented to be one of the most useful tools in overcoming anxiety and stress.

Combining music and writing has enormous benefits. The great thing is that writing your down your thoughts and feelings is a personal activity and you don’t have to share it with anyone else.

Sometimes it can be easier to write down things rather than verbalize what you are feeling.

4. Attend Live Concerts and Shows
A good way to help you overcome your anxiety can be to attend local concerts and shows.

Doing something you love in your community, can help you have better interpersonal connections and can give you a feeling of purpose and drive.

5. Take Advantage of Technology
Today, our culture is becoming more technology-driven. Why not take advantage of your gadget? Create a playlist of your top 10 songs that you find keeps you uplifted and motivated.

The great thing is, you can take your music anywhere by just using your headphones. If you find yourself out in public and experiencing any symptoms of anxiety, listening to your favorite songs can help relax you.

Conclusion

Suffering from anxiety and depression can give you a feeling that there is no hope to overcome due to their sometimes-crippling symptoms.

However, there is hope! You can explore an online therapy option like BetterHelp. Check out https://www.betterhelp.com/start/.

You have a wealth of resources that you can use to take control of your mental health.

Music therapy is a proven and popular technique that is used by many around the world and can bring about great benefits when dealing with depression and anxiety.

References

1. Depression • World Health Organization http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/
2. Depression After Traumatic Brain Injury | Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) http://www.msktc.org/tbi/factsheets/Depression-After-Traumatic-Brain-Injury
3. Globally, 1 in 13 suffers from anxiety - Futurity http://www.futurity.org/globally-1-in-13-suffers-from-anxiety/
4. Symptoms | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression/symptoms
5. Exercise and Depression: Endorphins, Reducing Stress, and More | WebMD http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression#1
6. Passive and Active Music Therapy – Voices Together: Music Therapy and Autism in Schools https://sites.duke.edu/voicestogether/series-the-potential-power-of-music-therapy-within-the-autism-community/passive-and-active-music-therapy/
7. Music Therapy with Specific Populations: Fact Sheets, Resources & Bibliographies | Music Therapy with Specific Populations | American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) https://www.musictherapy.org/research/factsheets/
8. An everyday activity as a treatment for depression: The benefits of expressive writing for people diagnosed with major depressive disorder https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3759583/
Author

Peggy Sealfon

Peggy Sealfon is a Personal Development Coach, Motivational Speaker, and an internationally-known expert on overcoming fear, anxiety, a

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