Fighting Depression and Anxiety with Music
Music can be one of the ultimate tools for health and wellness; from the emotional purging that comes with ballads, love songs, or screaming death metal lyrics to the use of drums or other instruments in a community drum circle or therapeutic setting. Music unites people together, through age, spirituality, location or culture. It can be one of the best methods to find or express the authentic Self, or simply be a way to escape into the mood, rhythm and feeling of the moment.
Researchers continue to study the benefits of music and rhythm on various health and wellness concerns such as autism, Parkinson’s Disease, PTSD, and even anxiety and depression. The benefits of music and drumming, especially, are obvious as outlets for communication and expression, both of which are seen as stumbling blocks for those with depression and anxiety. Recent research has moved even further into addressing the benefit of music as a therapeutic tool and the ways in which music can enhance talk therapy and other motivational practices.
Scientists at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland have determined that while music certainly helps provide people with the tools to communicate thoughts and emotions in a non-verbal manner, the benefit of listening only to music is negligible, and may even be harmful to those facing depression. However, playing an instrument, such as a Djembe, during a counseling or therapy session, increased the overall feelings of wellness, especially when it was explained how the drumming and music therapy worked on the mind. These same studies found that the presence of music reduced the perception of effort by 12 percent, making jobs, tasks or other issues that may be avoided due to depression or anxiety easier to face. This type of motivation is seen as people use music while exercising, and the same principles can apply to moving through the challenges and tasks of daily living.
The idea of music as therapy is not new. Music lovers often choose songs and artists based on moods – either to reconcile emotions, or to change or create a feeling within an environment. But, the actual act of playing an instrument or hitting a drum can not only provide a person with an emotional connection, but also a physical release that helps to stimulate the brain to produce mood-enhancing chemicals, naturally.
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