Can Music Improve Our Health And Quality Of Life?
Music Boosts Our Mood And Well-being, And Music Therapy May Help During Treatments For Certain Health Conditions.
Times are hard. The current political climate, war, impact of global warming, continued inequities due to systemic racism, and ongoing physical and mental health challenges from COVID are taking a toll on our feelings of safety in the World and quality of life. Hopefully, each of us can find moments of ease and temporarily shift our thoughts away from the difficult daily news. For many people, music can play a role in making that shift, even incrementally.
How can music impact our quality of life?
Recently, researchers looked at the impact of music interventions on health-related quality of life, and tried to answer the question about the best way to help make that shift toward release, relaxation, and rehabilitation. This recent systematic review and meta-analysis (a study of studies) showed that the use of music interventions (listening to music, singing, and music therapy) can create significant improvements in mental health, and smaller improvements in physical health–related quality of life. While the researchers found a positive impact on the psychological quality of life, they found no one best intervention or “dose” of music that works best for all people.
Complexities of music
As complex human beings from a wide variety of cultures, with a variety of life experiences and mental and physical health needs, our connection with music is very personal. Our relationship with music can be a very beautiful, vulnerable, and often complicated dance that shifts from moment to moment based on our mood, preferences, social situation, and previous experiences. There are times where music can have a clear and immediate impact on our well-being:
- easing a transition to sleep with a soothing playlist
- finding motivation for exercise by listening to upbeat dance music
- aiding self-expression of emotions by singing
- connecting to others by attending a live musical performance.