Why music is good for your mental health

It seemed fitting to focus this week’s blog on how music benefits our psychological wellbeing with the recognition of World Mental Health Day on October 10. We are much more aware of our mental health and the difficulties people face these days. We talk about it, we post quotes such as “It’s ok to not be ok” on social media and we try to reach out to those who may be suffering in silence.

Research has found that music is good for your mental health because it releases dopamine (Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath fame even released a song about it), the feel good chemical in your brain. Music is powerful in that it can relax the mind and energise the body.

I have been lucky in that I haven’t experienced debilitating mental health problems myself but I have had bad days like everyone does. I wonder if they occurred too often they may have an impact on my mental wellbeing but so far I have been ok. One of those challenging days might go like this:

1. Wake up early doors by one of my twin toddlers whose pyjamas and bedding are wet from the bottle that has leaked in bed.

2. Sort breakfast out; twin 1 would like cereal with milk, twin 1 then starts crying because the cereal is soggy from the milk.

3. Get children dressed; twin 2 cries because I have chosen the wrong top “I want one with a pocket on”….. Said top is in the washing machine.

4. Go to play group. Come back to make lunch, twin 1 cries “I don’t want to go to nursery”, cue a momentous battle to strap child in car to try to get to nursery on time.

5. That’s all before my day at work begins and finishes at 7:30pm which although very rewarding, it can be intense and mentally exhausting.

My evenings are often spent either at band, choir rehearsal or playing music at home. Even when I’ve had a rubbish day and it would be easy to just put my pyjamas on and crawl into bed with Neighbours on catch up, I always try to make time for music because it instantly makes me forget the day’s troubles. I mentally switch off from the niggling worries and for that half an hour I don’t think about anything other than the music I’m playing. I am visibly and mentally more relaxed.

It always amazes me how healing music is and I feel extremely lucky that I have that to help me get through the hard times. I have had similar conversations with people who say that playing music has the same effect on them. So if life is a bit much at the minute, please consider using music to help you along the way. Even if it’s just listening to it, play a song you can relate to, get lost in the music and take your mind away from the worries. Just a few minutes can give you the break you need before you refocus and carry on.

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