Music is a powerful and accessible art form that holds great therapeutic value for those recovering from addiction or experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders. Its widespread applicability makes it an invaluable tool that can be readily employed. The malleable nature of music and its innumerable forms can help each individual incorporate music in a way that best reflects their personal tastes and recovery needs.
Learning to harness music therapy and finding the right way to engage with it can help someone better process and navigate their own recovery journey.
What Is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic practice that incorporates music for a number of different physical, emotional, and mental purposes. It does this by using music’s many different modalities.
Each individual can engage with music in their own way. Some may listen to certain songs or styles that evoke strong memories or emotional reactions. Others choose to play instruments as a form of expression and develop new skills. Many use lyrical analysis or writing lyrics as a way to better communicate in a way that is pertinent to themselves. Even using music as a form of guided imagery and storytelling can be therapeutic for some.
Finding Purpose in Music Therapy
The benefits of using music therapy can be just as varied as its different modalities. Determining not only how an individual will engage with music, but also the best way to accomplish a particular goal using music is essential.
Whether an individual is looking to process their emotions, use music as a form of emotional release, better understand the language of their emotions, or are looking to connect with an artist based on similar experiences and a feeling of kinship, incorporating music is a powerful recovery tool.
Using Music as Relaxation
One of the most common qualities of music is its ability to help an individual relax. Calming tones can help create a stable, serene atmosphere that can help a person let go of hectic or chaotic thoughts, reduce stress, anxiety, and panic. Music can even help with navigating urges and cravings by providing a comfortable space to promote better decision-making skills.
Music can also help to create appropriate atmospheres for other therapeutic techniques, such as breathing techniques, mindfulness, meditation, or yoga. Using soft, calm songs, such as classical music, lo-fi radio, or nature recordings, can all help to ingratiate music as a core element in one’s relaxation techniques.
Songs That Evoke Emotions
Some songs may be closely tied to times or events in one’s past. Using these songs can help an individual begin to process these past events or outline the changes since these times passed. Certain songs, artists, or genres can also carry intense emotions that can help an individual process their own emotions in turn.
Music can capture almost any emotion, making it a great medium for processing and releasing any number of emotions. Bottling up sadness or depression can lead to disastrous outcomes if unaddressed. Having music that evokes these feelings can allow a person to express these difficult emotions to themselves and others. Sad songs can allow a person to cry when they may need to engage with what they are feeling.
Processing emotions like anger with intense, fast-paced songs, like hard rock, metal, or rap music, can also provide an outlet for the emotion. This can help to prevent directionless aggression, frustration, or lashing out. It can even aid in the processing and release of these emotions.
Learning to Play
Learning an instrument to create music is a great therapeutic modality. I can birth new hobbies and communities in one’s recovery as one establishes their identity inside and outside of the recovery sphere. This activity also may help an individual set new kinds of goals for themselves and measure their progress. Along with all of these benefits, playing an instrument also provides a medium for an individual to express themselves in a unique and meaningful way.
Music to Battle Isolation
Recovering from addiction or a mental health disorder can be an isolating experience. However, music provides a way for an individual to feel connected with others. Sharing an interest in a certain band or artist can create a community of people who share similar interests. It can also help an individual create a connection with an artist or band if they are singing or performing about personal, intimate experiences.
Artists like Mothica can provide individuals suffering from depression or substance abuse an outlet by listening to songs about these topics. This works to bridge their experiences and help an individual feel less isolated or hopeless in their own recovery past and future.
Music therapy is just one way in which Everlast Recovery Centers is prepared to help you better understand and overcome addiction or mental health disorders. Our comprehensive and personalized approach is ready to help you, whether you suffer from an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or an array of mental health disorders. Your time with us is personalized to best fit your unique needs and goals and can include a variety of proven therapeutic techniques, from music therapy to writing, 12-Step programs, individual and group therapy, family plans, and much more. We aim to meet you wherever you are on your recovery journey and work to provide a safe and comfortable space for you to plan out your transformed, sober lifestyle. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 388-6925.