Using Music Therapy to Manage Stress & Promote Mental Wellness

Using Music Therapy to Manage Stress & Promote Mental Wellness

There were an estimated 13% or 2.4 million Australians aged 18 and over reporting high levels of psychological distress, according to the 2017—2018 ABS NHS. However, music might just be one effective way to help those experiencing stress and anxiety.

From how music therapy works to its multitude of benefits to how simply learning to play an instrument could help, here’s what you need to know when it comes to effectively taking care of your mental health.

How music therapy can help 

Music therapy is a health profession that aims to utilise music to do a myriad of things in regards to improving mental health, including reducing stress, improving mood in addition to self expression.

Music therapy comes in a variety of different forms — from an active process where the client is actively participating by making music themselves, to a passive approach where the client interacts with music by listening.

There are also a variety of different types of music therapy, with community music therapy and analytical music therapy being just a couple of notable methods, thus highlighting just how broad the area is.

The benefits of music range widely, including being able to reduce the physical effects of stress, reducing depression in the elderly, and improving self expression and communication, to name just a few according to Jillian Levy (2017). This works because music has various effects on brain activity, with functional neuroimaging studies have shown that simply listening to music can have effects on emotional processing.

Learning an instrument

While attending official music therapy sessions can certainly help if you’re experiencing stress, anxiety, or other mental health struggles, learning an instrument on your own can also prove to be quite beneficial when it comes to reaping the benefits that music can bring. Whether you choose to supplement music therapy with learning the piano or guitar, or you simply want to indulge in a beneficial hobby and make some music, it’s important to realise that there is more than one way to learn.

With the ability to learn right from home with online tutorials, one effective way to get started quickly is by learning via an app. More cost efficient than a tutor, many mobile apps are a great and accessible way for those who are serious about becoming a musician. For example, one app, called Guitar Tricks, offers a Core Learning System, which gives you the foundational knowledge you need to succeed in addition to detailed lessons and a free version to try before buying.

For those experiencing stress or anxiety, music can be of great help. While specific music therapy is available that’s designed to help, supplementing those sessions with something like learning an instrument on your own can be a great idea, too.

This article was kindly written and contributed by Cassie Steele.

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