How Does Music Affect Our Emotions, Anxiety and Depression?

You may have heard the old expression, “music soothes the savage beast.” What is the meaning of that? It could mean that music can greatly affect and regulate our behaviors, moods, and emotions. Have you ever felt anxious and found that turning on soft or pleasant music relaxes you? Upbeat music might make you suddenly feel happier, like moving around the room or even dancing. It can soothe, enhance, or heighten whatever emotion you are feeling.

Some people find that when they are depressed, music can shift their mood and help regulate or modify their emotional state of mind. It can help relieve stress and anxiety and is often used in professional settings by licensed therapists as a way to help their patients navigate mental health issues.

Music doesn’t always have to be happy to have a positive effect on people. Sad music can be very healing and cathartic as well. It can mirror our emotional state, what we are feeling. It helps us know that we are not alone in our grief or sadness. Sometimes allowing oneself to cry can release the emotion so we can let go of the sad feelings.

Music can influence how we feel as a group. Ever notice how there is always background music playing in stores, malls, doctor’s offices, even elevators? There is a reason for that. Music can affect how we buy things, how we behave in group settings, be calming in a place like a dentist’s office when nerves are high. It can create an emotional bond between everyone who is listening simultaneously even though we may not realize it consciously. When the music speeds up, we move faster. This can be great in places where you need to get the foot traffic to speed up or at fast-food restaurants where the goal is to have customers eat fast and go. It can be used as a way to slow people down when you want customers to take their time and browse the wares in a store. Music can even play a part in how a romantic evening is perceived. Music sets the mood.

Many people find that they focus better when music is playing. Some students find it is helpful to their study practice, others need music when they exercise, run, meditate, write or have to do boring busywork.

Regardless of how you utilize music, it is important to note its power. People who struggle with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety may find that music can help them combat the negative thoughts that go along with these disorders.

If you are experiencing any kind of mental stress, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, working with a licensed professional can be extremely helpful. Talk to your therapist about your experiences with music, how it makes you feel, what songs evoke certain emotions or alleviate some of the pain you suffer. He or she will be able to work with you to create new emotional habits like creating a playlist that you can go to when you are experiencing difficult emotions. Learning what types of music change or affect your mood and in what way.

If you would like the help of a licensed therapist, reach out to us at Advantage Mental Health Center –  We are here to help!

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