EXPLAINER: How Does Listening to Music Help Our Mental Health?

Mia Rose explores the benefits of listening to music on a daily basis. 

It’s no secret that whacking on a good tune in the morning improves our mood for the day. But why does this happen? And on a deeper level, how is music helping people with mental health conditions cope?

Psychologists across the globe have researched this phenonenom, finding that listening to music has an impact on the human stress response, particularly the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the autonomic nervous system.

It was discovered that upon listening to high-frequency music, particularly after a stressful situation, the listeners cortisol levels lowered and oxytocin levels increased, making them more relaxed. 

High-frequency music (also known as high-vibration music) carries sound vibrations. The frequencies provided by these kinds of music can easily lift the overall mood of its listeners. Examples of popular music that carry high vibrations include: 

High-vibration music is often used in spiritual practices, such as the Balinese ‘Sound Healing’.This therapeutic and meditative treatment is an ancient practice originating from Bali, Indonesia.

It is believed that using instruments to create sound vibrations will lead listeners to be connected with their ‘Chakra’ or circular vortexes of energy system in your body to reach the balance. The Chakra is a Hindu term referring to the 7 energy points of the body.  During the treatment, the bowls are placed close to parts of the body that is considered as the source of “chakra” energy.

But how does all this help our mental health? Research has found that music therapy can be a safe and effective treatment for a variety of disorders, including Depression.

One study by the University of Pavia found that music therapy was a safe, low-risk way to reduce depression and anxiety in patients suffering from neurological conditions such as Dementia, Stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

Whilst music is not a cure or treatment, it is surely a beneficial way to brighten your mood on days that just aren’t it. 

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Written by: Mia Rose
Mia Rose is a Final Year Journalism student at the University of Sheffield. She has experience in feature writing and broadcasting. Mia forms a part of the Website Team at 5678 Magazine.