Why Music is good for your mental health
By Lainy Russell
Researchers have found that music releases dopamine… what’s dopamine? It’s the ‘feel-good’ chemical in your brain, it raises your mood; dopamine is also associated with falling in love. So treat yourself to some upbeat, happy music. Create a playlist full of music that makes you want to sing and dance and feel alive. Of course, we can also use music to dwell on those negative emotions too, but you can consciously decide to uplift your mood by playing your favourite ‘mood enhancing’ ‘get happy’ playlist, start compiling it today.
The auditory system of the brain is the first to fully function at 16 weeks old, so you are musically receptive long before anything else.
The other amazing power of music is found in the care of people with dementia; especially singing! It appears to unlock memories and seems to ‘jumpstart’ the brain. For some reason, music reaches parts of the damaged brain in ways other forms of communication cannot. It is amazing that we could still be contactable on some level right up to the very end of life when our brain has let us down in other areas.
Many music students throughout the UK, now regard care home visits as part of their learning experience. As well as being enormously beneficial to those with various forms of dementia and they can also be helpful and rewarding for the musicians themselves. You will find more experienced musicians also making visits and getting involved; it’s a feel good all-rounder.
If you are a songwriter, you will be very aware of what mood and emotion you wish to convey with your music. Many times, when I have interviewed songwriters, they say that their music comes from their real life experiences and often it is when life is hard or presents challenges, that they get their biggest inspiration. But also, a major positive event can do the same, falling in love, the birth of a child, to name a couple. Many musicians get ‘writers block’ and have worked out their own unique ways of getting through this, some go away on a quiet retreat, some exercise, some meditate, some do an activity out of the ordinary and some like to spend time with other inspirational artist, not just musical, but other forms of art can inspire too…. Whatever it is for you, you need to find it and allow your brain to re-balance so you can work again.
And finally, it is important to realise that you are your own brand;