Using Music To Heal in Addiction Recovery

Music is a powerful source for healing. The melodies and lyrics of music have a way of deploying emotional responses in a healthy and productive fashion. Music can help individuals cope with pain, whether it be emotional or physical. From a scientific perspective, music lowers the Cortisol levels in our bodies, which is the hormone that induces stress and therefore, helps us to experience relief from our daily life stressors. One of the wonderful things about music is that everyone can find some type of music that matches their listening preferences.

Here are ten ways in which music can help you heal:

1. Sleep Aid

Listening to music can help calm the mind and therefore, lead you into a restful sleep. This is a much healthier way to catch those ZZZZ’s as opposed to non-holistic sleep aids.

2. Stress Relief

Because music stimulates a biochemical response within the human body, it can act as a stress reliever. Have you ever been angry and, in order to cope with the anger, blasted your favorite ‘angry music’? Don’t you feel better afterward? I know I do!

3. Pain Relief

Believe or not, music does have the ability to distract the mind from pain by activating sensory pathways in the body that are used to combat the pain pathways. In a nutshell, music can help distract you from feeling the pain.

4. Fights Anxiety

Music is like a massage for your mind. It can be an excellent resource when you are feeling anxious by massaging away at the anxiety and providing relief to the brain.

5. Fights Depression

Genre plays a crucial role in helping to reduce feelings of depression when it comes to music. Listening to calm and soothing music will most likely help soothe the feelings associated with depression versus heavy metal or punk rock.

6. Eases Nervousness

Music that has a catchy beat or a quick pace can often times help calm the nerves, particular before an event that gives you the jitters or butterflies in your stomach.

7. Promotes Physical Activity

Have you ever gone to the gym and listened to fast-paced music? If the answer is yes, did you feel more motivated to work out harder and longer? I know when I go to the gym, the faster the pace the harder I work. Listening to your favorite fast-paced tracks can help boost your motivation and your endurance while engaging in any form of physical activity.

8. Improves Cognitive Function

Believe it or not, music can boost one’s cognitive abilities! Have you ever listened to music when you are working on a task that requires extreme focus? Perhaps while studying, writing a paper, etcetera? If you haven’t, try it sometime and see for yourself.

9. Meditation

It is no secret that listening to slower music can have a calming effect on an individual. The slower music allows your brainwaves to slow down, thereby putting you into a calm and meditative state. This can help ease symptoms associated with behavioral problems. Think about trying this next time you feel anxious or even try it with your child if they’re having a rough day and needs some space to calm down.

10. Blood Vessel Function

The human body has a very physical response to music. When you are listening to music you really enjoy and that makes you happy, your blood flow increases, which in turn promotes healthy blood vessel function. Neat right?!

Next time you listen to music, take note of how your body is responding, whether it is physical, emotional or both. Below are quotes from staff and patients who have used music as a healing technique:

“Music is a calming source for me. Once I pick up that guitar and touch the strings, it helps soothe the noise in my mind. I feel like I can just allow my emotions to come out through the sounds of the guitar”

“Music allows me to find my center. I like to play calm and melodic music when I am meditating or doing yoga”

“Music makes me feel more centered. I enjoy the fast-paced genres more than anything else. Regardless of my mood, the music helps me to feel more relaxed and less stressed”

Author: Bonnie Wright, MBA – Footprints to Recovery – Executive Director Colorado

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