Music Therapy at Home
Seeking out a qualified and experienced therapist is the best course of action for someone looking to improve his or her depressive symptoms through music therapy. For others, limitations of distance, expense or lack of therapist availability make receiving services impossible.
Does that mean that you should be left without options based on music? No. In fact, other types of treatment have already adopted music-based treatment interventions. Here’s how to use music for mood:
- For many people, music is already part of their lives. Most people listen to the radio and have some kind of emotional response. You love country but hate rap. You cry every time that you hear the song that reminds you of a heartbreak. Bringing music from the background to the foreground can help tremendously. Set aside time to listen to music daily and track the impact. Try to listen to music that matches the mood you wish to achieve. If you desire happiness, listening to upbeat, positive music may shift your mood in that direction. You can also try listening to music that mirrors your current mood. Listening to sad songs while depressed can serve as an appropriate outlet, while gaining the understanding that you are not alone with your feelings.
- Creating music with your voice or musical instruments is a powerful process. Oftentimes with depression, you feel powerless and out of control. Imagine standing over a drum and banging away to reduce anger or frustration. Imagine lightly plucking the strings of your guitar to communicate the uncertainty of your life. Consider penning a song about your fears, hopes, worries or challenges that face you, and then sing your heart out. Song writing is a form of journaling and singing is a great way to calm your body because it utilizes the same deep breathing techniques used in relaxation. Sing from your diaphragm to flood your blood with oxygen.
- Dance, whether it looks good or not, is another way to express yourself when you cannot find the words to write or say. Feeling angry? Put on a heavy rock song while you jump, pump your fist into the air and swivel your hips. Feeling sad? Put on a slow R&B favorite as you sway to the music. As with the 'listen' stage above, experiment with dancing and depression by choosing music that matches your mood as well as music that goes against it to find what works for you. Even the gentlest sway is likely to increase your cardiovascular activity, and you know that exercise is great for depression.
The simplest truths are the ones that endure time and distance. For hundreds of years, people have said that music soothes the savage beast. Thousands of years before that, Plato knew that music “gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
Music will not resolve all of your problems or reverse your depression, but maybe music is the thing to give you hopes for a better tomorrow. Whether it is a CD, record, cassette tape, 8-track or mp3, push play to feel better.