Music and mental health

In the same way that instruments create music, music is itself an instrument that produces good vibes and productivity. While not all music works in the same way, every genre of music offers its own unique benefits to our mental health and wellbeing. Check out some of the ways that music can be used as a tool for good in your life and what to do if it's not working.

Read this if you would like to:

  • Learn about the connection between music and mental health
  • Incorporate music into your life more
  • Understand the benefits of music
girl lying on grass listening to music

Music: a tool for good

It has been generally accepted that both listening to and creating music can have a variety of positive effects on mood and mental health. Incorporating music into your everyday life is a simple way to boost your spirits and take time out from all the hustle and bustle. Read on for more info about how you can make the most of the link between music and mental health. 

How exactly?

So, we have learnt that music is not just a form of entertainment and that there are lots of links between music and mental health. But how exactly can you use it in your day-to-day life? Check out some of the more common applications of music:

  • It helps you focus. This is where classical music in particular comes in handy. Music that has a tempo of 60 bpm (beats per minute) increases the efficiency of the brain in processing information. Make sure that the music you choose has no lyrics and is playing softly in the background and you might find that the combination of these things is just what you need to help you focus. Check out the kind of music that would be great to study to. 
  • It allows you to express yourself. We weren’t all born with a way with words. Sometimes it’s really hard to find the right words to talk about everything that’s on our mind but music is an excellent alternative. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; a simple strum on a guitar with some lyrics that you’ve scribbled down on a napkin might be all that you need to express yourself. It’s more about how it makes you feel than how it sounds; remember that no one ever has to hear your music if you don’t want them to. 
  • It leads to social connection. Whether it’s sharing playlists with your friends, or meeting new, like-minded people at the gig of your favourite band, music connects people. It provokes discussion and sometimes even debate, but at the end of the day it’s enabling valuable interactions with friends and family. 
  • It fosters creativity. Listening to or making music allows your brain to think creatively. Creativity can be a great tool for improving your mood and feeling productive. A lot of people find creativity to be a valuable instrument to help them get through the tough times. 
  • It helps you to relax. OK, so this isn’t a huge scientific breakthrough, but it’s worth repeating: music helps you relax. If you choose the right kind of music for you, put on some comfy clothes and put your feet up, it’s a safe bet that you’ll feel relaxed in no time. Have a look at some more info on music and relaxation.
  • It motivates you. Your favourite kind of music can be an excellent motivational force. Remember that time you dreaded vacuuming the house? Next time, pop your favourite tune on in the background and chances are you’ll find it that much easier to get started. 

It’s not working

Music doesn’t work in the same way for everyone. Some people find it really valuable, while others don’t care for it too much. Give music a go and you might just see your mood improve and experience the connection between music and mental health for yourself. If you’ve been feeling down and nothing helps, you might want to think about having a chat to a family member or healthcare professional. 

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 12 August, 2015
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2 Comments

  • lanejane    (780 days ago)

    hey there @jarvis1

    i've had a quick search and while i couldn't find anything directly related to the above article, i did find this: http://www.mentalhealth.wa.gov.au/mentalhealth_changes/breaking_down_stigma/music_feedback.aspx

    it's connected to this initiative run by YAC WA: http://www.yacwa.org.au/projects/music-feedback-2

    might be interesting just for some additional reading?

  • jarvis1    (784 days ago)

    this is a great article, thanks! do you have more information like references for this article that i could read more about these aspects of music?