Music & Mental Health Pt 1

Music & Mental Health Pt 1

I write this post feeling now more than ever, how positive music (and the Arts as a whole) can be on our mental health. Firstly, I want to say sorry to all those people within the arts out there who have been working hard to pursue their passions and dreams, who have had to see ads like the ‘Rethink, Reskill, Reboot’ campaign, suggesting that a job in cyber for example is more worthwhile than what they do or want to achieve. As a creative myself, I feel your pain. The Arts have such a benefit to those who are part of them and those who are on the receiving end of them.

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/rethink-reskill-reboot – take a look for a little laugh

With a lockdown for England having recently started again nationally, just after having live music being put on once again, we are entering another quiet world with a lot more time on our hands which for some will be a good thing, but for others, more challenging. This is when we will turn to things like music, films and other forms of the Arts to escape in.

Music has been a passion of mine for a long time. It’s been something that’s always helped me through tough times. I’ve always been involved in it since I was little, whether that be playing instruments, listening to it, going to live shows for fun, or for work. I know many people in the industry who I respect a great deal, who have worked hard to be where they are and do what they do, but this year has been really, really hard for everyone involved.

Josh Franceschi, You Me At Six @ O2 Guildhall – © Alia Thomas @aliathomasphoto

Music has a profound effect on people emotionally and mentally. Everyone has certain songs that speak to them, or songs/playlists/artists for different emotions and times in their life. I’m sure there will be music that reminds you of certain points in your life, or certain people. Music that brings out certain emotions for you. Music is an escape for many, a form of expression, and I am all for it.

Scientific research shows that music is very beneficial to the mind. It has been proved to reduce stress – researchers found that music makes you release dopamine, the feel good chemical in your brain, and that in one experiment, dopamine was 9% higher in volunteers that listened to music they enjoyed. Not only this but it can improve motivation, focus, and creativity, amongst other benefits. If you want to read more on the benefits of music on mental health, then here is an interesting, easy-to-read article.

See You In Hell – WSTR

Late last year, as I’ve previously mentioned, my anxiety heightened dramatically. I was experiencing a very uncomfortable time where I was consistently feeling on edge, but at the same time numb, and unhappy. Nothing much gave me joy, and I was always tired and worried about something. In December, I went to a gig local to my hometown in one of my favourite venues with a friend, and saw a band that I’d loved for a while. I had not seen this friend in a some time but we’d planned to go to this gig for a few weeks. As always in those cases you have a little catch up, and I explained how I’d been feeling, whilst getting a little emotional about it all as it was all quite raw. We talked about stuff which helped anyway, and then the music started. The headliners were WSTR; a band I’ve followed for a few years now.

I don’t know if you relate to getting lost in the music, but I love a gig that I can sing along to almost every lyric, feeling the beat vibrate through you, one that makes me forget about the outside world and encapsulates me in that room. Make me forget about everything for an evening. I suddenly realised towards the end of the show that for that hour or so I’d actually felt happy, and a bit more myself. I hadn’t felt or thought about feeling anxious or low. I was merely taken in by the sounds, the atmosphere, and the infectious happiness from the rest of the crowd and was just enjoying the music. That’s something special. Some people turn to alcohol, and others to drugs. I turn to music. It won’t cure my anxiety or change things for me necessarily, but it’s there to comfort me. To help me escape reality for a time or to help my emotions come up to the surface. Help me to feel what I need to feel, and boost that bloody serotonin.

State Champs @ The 1865 – © Alia Thomas @aliathomasphoto

What are your thoughts on this: the ‘Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.’ campaign, and the effect music has on you? I’d love to know!

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