Can Music Improve Mental Health?

Music has been known to have positive psychological effects. At German Neuroscience Center in Dubai, a leading neurology center, we make sure to implement different techniques and strategies that help our patients cope with mental health illnesses.

A 2016 study found that music can boost your mood and well-being even as it reduces stress levels. Comparing the benefits of listening to music vs. mediating, the study reports that both practices are linked to better sleep patterns and overall mood.

At GNC we have found that music can assist in stress reduction and management. We offer an expansive library of meditative music to help soothe the mind and induce relaxation. Listening to music is known for having a positive impact on the human stress response, and upbeat music can even help lift your mood!

Our patients have said that music helps them feel less alone. Though loneliness is inevitable, it leads to feelings that we are worthless and unloved. Music can play a role in those low moments when we feel as if there is no one to keep us company. When we connect to our favorite musicians and find meaning in the lyrics to our favorite songs, it’s as if we’re no longer facing our problems alone. There is a song out there for every emotion and every experience.

Music therapy is another method we employ at the center. There are two forms of music therapy—active and receptive. With active music therapy, you create music with your therapist to help you deal with your emotions and relieve stress. Receptive music therapy is simply listening to music while you indulge in other activities. Both types of music therapy offer a more creative, holistic approach to healing and recovery, even from traumatic events and depression.

Mental health problems are strongly associated with insomnia. When it comes to treating insomnia, we have found that listening to calm, relaxing music is an effective way to sleep better at night. In a study from 2008, a group of participants listened to 45 minutes of classical music, while another group listened to an audiobook. A control group received no intervention. Those who listened to audiobooks as well as those in the control group reported no improvement. But the participants who listened to classical music reported a statistically significant improvement in their sleep quality.

Music even helps strengthen your memory! Listening to certain music brings back memories and allows us to relive joyful moments from our past. Listening to upbeat music makes us feel good and releases an increased amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine has a direct effect on our memory, allowing us to remember past events in our lives and strengthening our long-term memory in general. Along with boosting our moods, music offers us encouragement that things will get better.

Images from iStock/fizkes (main), Moore Media (boy on the hill), RobertHoetink (musician on the metro). 

Dr. Harry Horgan

Dr. Harry Horgan from the German Neuroscience Center in Dubai is a UK-trained Clinical Psychologist hailing from Ireland. He completed his master’s degree in Health Psychology at the University of Ulster and completed his doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. He has almost a decade of experience working across a diverse range of mental health and other specialist psychology services in Ireland and the U.K.

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