The end of summer and the beginning of the school year can be an anxiety-inducing time for the whole family. Kids may feel anxious about going back to school, and parents may be dealing with a whole variety of worries.
Music is one way that children and adults can help manage anxiety. As humans, we seem designed to respond to music from all levels of our being. Our bodies respond to music. Stored memories and feelings get tapped through music. Music stirs our souls.
Below are some reasons how and why music can help you manage feelings of stress or anxiety, regardless of age. It’s my hope that these will help you see the value of music in your child’s life, as well as your own life.
Enhance a person’s mood. If a person is feeling down, music can help them feel energized and inspired. Mindful listening to music can help reconnect a person with their body and move out of their heads and ruminating thoughts. Making music can have similar effects on enhancing mood.
Develop a sense of belonging. Sometimes feelings of anxiety can come from not feeling like you belong somewhere. Making music as a group or listening to music in a group atmosphere are the most obvious ways that a person can feel like they belong. Yet, listening to music that speaks to you, that validates your feelings, can also contribute to a sense of belonging.
Foster resilience. Life isn’t always easy. When we get challenged, we need to know how to move forward in a healthy way. Music can be a metaphor for this as it takes practice to learn a song or to play an instrument. You may not sound perfect right away, but you’re motivated to improve. As you continue to practice and play, you can hear the improvement and it feels good.
Boost self-esteem. A person gains a greater appreciation for who they are and what they can do when they make music. Having a stronger sense of who you are can help you to be gentle with yourself when you feel anxious, and to know that the feelings can pass.
It’s important to acknowledge, though, that some people’s situations require more support. That’s where a board-certified music therapist with a background in mental health can come in handy. If this sounds like your situation, contact SoundWell Music Therapy at www.soundwellmusictherapy.com to learn more about how music therapy could help you or someone you know.
Faith Halverson-Ramos, MA, LPC, MT-BC;