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Help yourself hit the high notes


MOOD MUSIC Music can have a huge impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

Harness the therapeutic benefits of music

Mental Matters
Jannah Walsh

Straight off the bat let me say, I’m no music therapist. Nor am I a therapist that uses music in the therapy room or as a type of intervention. But I am someone with an interest in how music can impact our mental health and wellbeing.
If you’re like me, music is a part of your daily life. Maybe you listen to the radio on the way to work, or you have a favourite playlist to keep you company whilst exercising, or maybe you listen to music as you go about your daily chores, like when cooking a meal, taking a shower or folding the laundry.
Music is linked to mood. A song can have the power to make us feel happy, sad, energetic or relaxed. Because music can have such an impact on our mindset and wellbeing, it’s no surprise that music therapy is becoming increasingly more common in helping to manage many medical conditions. More and more scientific evidence is coming out to support the use of music therapy for mood enhancement and anxiety or stress relief.
Music can be active or it can be receptive. In other words, we can be the musician or singer, or we can be the listener. In either instance, music can be healing.

Reaping the rewards
If you want to harness music to benefit your daily wellbeing, there are lots of ways to go about it, and lots of rewards to reap. Here are a few tips.

Creating your own music is a great way to express emotions. This can be as simple as singing a song your own way, strumming a guitar or even composing your own lyrics to a song. You don’t need to be a professional musician to do this. It’s all about how it makes you feel, not about how it sounds. No one ever has to hear your music if you don’t want them to!

Buddy up
Music can help with social interaction. To help stop you from feeling lonely or isolated, try sharing playlists with your friends, join a local music group, call your friends and arrange to go to see a band playing or meet new, like-minded people at your favourite band’s next concert.

Classic trick
Use classical music to help you focus and relax. For this, it is best to have the music playing softly in the background as you get on with your tasks. Classical music may not be your cup of tea, but its many benefits for health have been proven. Why not give it a try?

Find your own groove
Of course, it might be a different type of music entirely that quietens your mind. It seems straightforward, but by choosing the right kind of music to play or to listen to, you have a handy way to guarantee that you’ll feel relaxed in no time. Spend some time listening to different music genres, and find out what works for you.

Get creative
Music is said to aid creativity. So, if you’re stuck on a creative project that you need to complete, try listening to different types of music and see which one works best to get the creative juices flowing again.

Turn up the volume
Need motivation? Use your favourite music to help you get started. Turn up the volume on an upbeat tune and chances are you’ll find it much easier to get started and enjoy what you’re doing at the same time.

Body and soul
Don’t forget that music has the ability to get us moving, releasing those natural endorphines that make us feel happy. So why not have a dance around the kitchen, loosen up those muscles and lose yourself in a good tune.

Jannah Walshe is a counsellor and psychotherapist based in Castlebar and Westport. A fully accredited member of The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, she can be contacted via www.jannahwalshe.ie, or at info@jannahwalshe.ie or 085 1372528.