Music has long been a powerful force in my life. My mom loves to tell stories of how I danced a lot in my car seat as a baby to whatever tunes came on the radio. I wasn’t quite conscious of it then, but I do now know that music makes me happy and helps me connect to and process deeper feelings. As I’ve grown as a person, and as a therapist, I’ve come to also realize just how therapeutic music can be.
Music helps us move throughout our lives. From processing a breakup to living our best lives in the warmth of the summer sunshine (insert Will Smith’s Summertime here). And if you ask most people about their lives growing up they can often connect music to specific periods in their lives. Music is feeling. Music is memory. And music is connection.
It’s that connection, those special moments, that helps us connect to the creators, composers, and artists who make them. I remember how I instantly remembered my own experiences with grief the first time I heard Seasons of Love from Rent. It was powerful. By contrast, do you remember how Da Dip make those school dances ALL the more interesting? I even remember the gender wars of No Scrubs and its follow up No Pigeons (what were they thinking though?).
Even a concert can be a divine, healing experience.
Even if music is in a different language, it has the power to heal. It’s often why it’s called the “universal language”. That’s why opera is so powerful even if you don’t know Italian. It’s why Kpop is spreading across the world again.
Music can be incredibly healing. It can help us process emotions we’re trying to hide away from. It can help us heal from the angst of feeling less than.
Music can also help us lower stress, manage our physical health (with dancing) and even help us live longer?
Turns out, it can also make us better people.
Music that is prosocial, basically that emphasizes empathy, progress, unity, etc. helps us be more empathetic, open and compassionate. Music can also be an incredibly effective supplement to therapeutic treatment. It’s often why I make assignments to clients to listen to certain songs when they’re feeling stuck in a certain train of thought or feeling.
Music can help free us.
So the next time you’re feeling out of sorts, try using music intentionally to heal. You never know what might happen.