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Music and Mental Health

What is your favorite form of self-care? Some of the most common responses to this question are “listening to music,” “singing,” or “dancing.” Research has shown that music has a lasting and beneficial effect on the brain chemicals dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine allows feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation, and oxytocin is known as a “love hormone”.   

Personally, I can’t imagine my life without music. A lot of my favorite memories involve music in some way. It’s a great way to connect with yourself and others. There are many ways that music positively impacts mental health.

Listening to music can relieve stress by calming the mind when emotions are on the rise. So, the next time you feel stressed or like you might say something out of anger, try putting on your headphones for a couple minutes before acting on the emotions you’re feeling. You may form a new perspective.

Music can help you focus! When my friends and I were in college we used study music playlists to zone in when we had lots of homework to get done. There really is a playlist for everything. Need to clean the house? Great, there’s a playlist to help you complete that chore. The type of music you listen to can really determine the energy you feel.

Music can be motivating! Think about the music you like to listen to when you exercise. If you went to the gym or on a run without listening to any music, would you be as productive? There’s something about the inspiring lyrics or the energizing beat of the music that helps make a workout successful.

Music can help build community! One of the best feelings is going to see your favorite singer in concert. You’re surrounded by numerous people who are enjoying the music too.  You might value that singer because they tell stories through their music that you connect with, which can make you feel supported. Loyal fans often find community by sharing an interest in a certain singer.

Studies on music and mood have shown that different types of music can trigger different emotions. Music of all types is easily accessible and it’s important to choose the music you listen to wisely for it to positively impact your mental health. Calming music can have a soothing effect, whereas heavy metal music may trigger feelings of sadness or anger. My advice is to evaluate what your mind and body needs when picking out music to listen to.

How has music had an impact on your life? How does music trigger your emotions? Does the music you choose often align with your mood? What does this help you understand? By asking yourself questions like these you become more aware of how important music is in your life. I encourage you to allow music to positively impact your mental health.

Sidney Howard, Outreach Coordinator

Sidney Howard is an Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Midland University, where she was an Event Coordinator for four years. Sidney has previous experience in behavioral health, working with youth and adults in direct care settings. Sidney is passionate about raising awareness around mental health and providing support and resources. She joined the foundation in January of 2023 and currently focuses on outreach through presentations, events, and relations.