One of the most natural responses to feeling sad, or being caught up in a “case of the blues” is to turn on some music and let the beauty (or cathartic screaming) of a favorite song wash away those feelings. For those who suffer from depression, it’s never as simple as being a little sad or bluesy. Depression can affect all aspects of life, and those facing the disorder, treatments can vary in effectiveness. Music, however, is a favored way to help ease the issues that depression creates, especially in a clinical or therapeutic setting.
Music has the ability to reach into the hearts and minds of people across the world. It is a natural solution to help enhance moods, but there is clinical evidence that music can benefit those with depression on a more permanent level. Many times, those with depression have difficulties communicating with others, and therapists are continuing to see that with music, patients are better able to fine a channel for self-expression. Music naturally motivates the mind, as the brain produces a type of music itself. The beats involved in music also reach into the brain and help regulate natural rhythmic cycles that can be interrupted in a patient with depression.
Music therapy can be as simple as playing a song, or introducing an instrument, like a Djembe or Kalimba, into a session. Listening to music can promote relaxation or comfort, as well as a motivation. Music brings people solace, or a feeling of being understood, all of which helps those battling depression feel less alone in the struggle. For those that play an instrument during a therapy session, for example, both communication and motivation increases, helping boost efforts to surmount the heavy weight that depression can be.
Whether facing a setback in life, lack of motivation, or a full case of depression, the wonders of music and rhythm can make a big difference in motivation and mood. As researchers and therapist continue to discover the link between music, rhythm and the mind, more therapists will undoubtedly add these forms of non-invasive therapies into their work. For anyone who needs a boost, turn on a favorite song, grab your favorite hand drum and let the magic of music help bring you to a better place.