“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” — Victor Hugo
Music is a universal language. Whether you’re moved by the sounds or impacted by the lyrics, we know that it has the power to change our emotions. We start listening and participating in music from a young age. Songs helped us learn. They lulled us to sleep as babies. And they motivated us when we needed encouragement. Even as adults music continues to be there for us when we need it most.
This month, Staff Shop wants to talk about the power of music and how musical therapy has countless benefits that can be used to help you get through tough times.
The holiday season is upon us, which can be a joyous time, but also stressful for some. There’s shopping to do, social gatherings to attend – it can be overwhelming. But we know that if we put on some headphones and play our favourite song, the stress melts away.
It’s been proven that music helps calm the mind and lift our mood. Studies have shown that listening to music lowers cortisol levels and slows the heart rate. Listening to music gives us pleasure, just like eating something delicious – our brain reacts in a similar way. We can also listen to music to work through our complex human emotions. For example, if you listen to a sad song when you’re feeling down, or listening to an angry song when you’re frustrated or upset.
Music therapy can be used to treat depression and anxiety, but it can also be used for those with physical health issues.
There are several ways to experience music therapy. For some, the act of creating music is incredibly therapeutic. Others find movement, such as dancing, helpful. Some people just need to listen to feel the positive effects of music. Music therapists will use both active and passive processes with clients, or a combination of the two, depending on the person.
There are several types of music therapy, some are more structured, while others are more improvisational. Some types are to encourage creative thinking, while others are meant to reinforce positive mindsets. It can look like traditional therapy or it can be more loose and unstructured. It all depends on the therapist and what you’re hoping to get out of this type of therapy.
How you respond to music is unique to you. Everyone is different. But we know that music has a positive effect on most people.
- Ignites inspiration and creativity
- Improves motor skills and communication in children (and adults with learning disabilities)
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers heart rate
- Relaxes muscle tension
- Releases endorphins
- Relieves stress
For people with depression, it’s recommended that you use music therapy alongside traditional treatments, such as therapy and medications. It can be an excellent complement to your treatment plan.
We did a blog back in February 2022 on EMDR. If you recall, this is a treatment for depression and PTSD, among other things.
Bilateral music therapy is related to EMDR, only it uses music played in the ears using headphones.
“In therapies such as EMDR or brainspotting, a therapist might have the person listen to bilateral music while having the patient think about stressful or traumatic memories. Bilateral music helps the brain process the stress or traumatic memories so that the person can eventually think about the stressful memories without triggering severe anxiety or stress.” (eMentalHealth.ca)
The Staff Shop Team
To personalize this more, we have asked our team to share their own experiences with music. How has music helped them? What positive memories do they have associated with the act of engaging with music?
“I feel like music saved my life at times. It transcends time, allows me to dream and create. It has an ability to heal and give me the energy, peace or joy I need throughout the day. I enjoy most genres and appreciate others for what they are. I love live music, loud music while working out, dance music to zone into a good time, sound bowls for sleep, cooking/dinner party tunes, I love singing to my kids and during worship. It’s my therapy, and one of God’s most thoughtful gifts.”
-Jennifer Ménard-Shand, Founder & CEO
“Music is incredible therapy for me—it’s what brings my husband and me closer, especially when we’re belting out our favorite country tunes together on long road trips. It’s freeing and creates a special bond between us. Plus, beyond just the fun, music is my way of connecting with my faith, providing a fulfilling and personal form of worship that feels like the best kind of therapy, without imposing on anyone else’s beliefs.”
-Alison “Ali” Hernández, COO
“For as long as I can remember there has always been music in my life. I can still remember my mom had a record of Maria Calas singing, she would stand still and smile and disappear into another world; her voice rang through our home, and it moved us to tears. Then when I saw the Wizard of Oz and heard Judy Garland sing for the very first time, I was changed forever. I discovered that I could sing, and so I would go outside and make up songs about my life to the melodies that floated in my mind. Music got me through some of my darkest and hardest moments of my childhood.”
-Rebecca Sepulveda, Employee & Client Care Concierge
“Music is such a great part of my life. I’m the type of person who always has it on in the background. I love Classical tunes on grey rainy days. Lofi beats bring a chill vibe but really help me focus, jazz means it’s time to relax, and rock lets me unleash my energy. Its versatility makes it my constant source of comfort and joy, making every experience more vibrant. It’s a vital part of my journey, adding depth to the highs and offering comfort during the lows.”
-Belinda LeMay, Employee & Client Care Concierge
“I love music therapy for its powerful role in expressing and transforming emotions. Whether I’m enhancing or altering my mood, music provides a beautiful avenue to navigate various feelings. In moments of sadness, it serves as a comforting companion, and when I need joy and inspiration, it effortlessly uplifts me. Starting my mornings with high BPM music sets a positive tone, preparing me for the day. Music therapy has become a crucial part of my daily well-being.”
-Chantal Porter, Staffing Manager
“Music helps me not only in my mood swings but has a very important role in helping me connect with people. I love Indian classical and instrumental music. I can listen to instrumentals all day long – it is just so soothing for my soul! Music carries lots of memories for me, memories that I can always revisit with the help of music – it takes me back right into that moment.”
-Nidhi Soni, Accounting Manager
“For me, Music is something I have always escaped to, ever since I was a little girl. Whether it was playing my piano, singing in the Choir at School and Church or Theatre, or simply listening to it extremely loudly in my own space, Music is my “therapy”. Of course, I love to listen to music just because it’s wonderful, but I also use it in other ways as well. The first, and less common these days is when I put on show tunes and sing the different parts as if I were in the play myself. It helps me to escape, clear my mind, and get my creative juices flowing. The one I do almost daily is listen to my favourite genre of music, which is Christian Worship Music. This allows me to take the focus off myself and place it on the One who truly matters. I sense God’s peace and joy fill me in these moments, especially when I’m feeling lost, lonely, or anxious.”
– Kim Patrick, Staffing Director
“Music is such a big part of my life. It has the power to support or create my mood depending on the genre or artist I am listening to. There is rarely a moment where I am not playing music, and therefore many memories are attached to the songs I listen to. When I put them on I’m brought back to both sad and happy times, but either way I am grateful that the song holds meaning to me. Music is so powerful and is constantly growing with me.”
-Laura De Lorenzi, Marketing Coordinator
Staff Shop wants to hear about your experiences with music therapy? Has it worked for you? Also, share your relationship with music in general. Contact us today!
“Music brings a warm glow to my vision, thawing mind and muscle from their endless wintering.” — Haruki Murakami