10 reasons music helps my mental health

Music is the number one way I rationalise my thoughts and express how I feel. I absolutely love writing songs in my journal and then developing a catchy rhythm to them on my guitar.

There’s some powerful in hearing a song, and realising that other people have also had the same anxieties and insecurities as you.

Songwriting has helped me through numerous relationship break-ups and has helped me connect and build life-time friendships. Above is a short cover of Beyoncé’s song Freedom I did with my friend.

I have compiled a brief list of ten reasons music has helped my mental health.

1. Music is nostalgic and has time travelling abilities

Have you ever heard a song on the radio and instantly been transported to a different place in time?

From a young age, one of my earliest memories is my dad singing me to sleep to the tone deaf sounds of Elvis Presley’s ‘In the Ghetto’ and Madness’ ‘Baggy Trousers.’

I also remember being a toddler and sitting in the back of my mum’s car singing, “woooohooo” at the top of my lungs to Blur’s ‘Song 2’.

Now, whenever I hear these songs, it takes me back to a place of childhood contentment and makes me feel happy. 

Me and my Dad when I was a toddler.

2. Music has helped me connect with people

Strong relationships can be built upon the love of music. The amount of fandoms that have been created, solely on the enjoyment of musicians and artists. Take Beatlemania for example.

As a fan of Beyonce, I hold no shame in admitting I am part of the BeyHive. However I also love the Arctic Monkey’s. Me and my boyfriend bonded over our shared love for the band.

3. Music is cathartic

Music has the fantastic ability to uplift and change my mood in a second, or make me feel the empathy, anger and sadness conveyed in the lyrics.

I really love Jess Glynne. I remember hearing ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself’ for the first time and instantly connecting with the track. I resonated with every line of the song, it felt as if it had been written about my life.

There’s some powerful in hearing a song, and realising that other people have also had the same anxieties and insecurities as you.

For example if you’re having a bad day, you can put on your favorite song and sing at the top of your lungs (even if you know there’s a slight chance the alley cats might also join in).

You can also dance like nobody’s watching and in the words of Taylor Swift: “Shake it off.”

4. Music changes perceptions and gives people a voice

If you have a burning desire to make a statement about politics or culture, you can do it through music. Rap music is brilliant at this.

Music is a like a historical stamp from culture. I have learnt so much from listening tracks such as Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Going to Come’ and John Lennon’s, ‘Imagine.’

Another great example of is in folk music. In the 60’s Bob Dylan’s released ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues,’ which in America was described as the voice of the counterculture. Go and have a listen if you haven’t heard it before.

I have a curious mind so I find this helps my mental health because I am able to hear from the voices of generations past.

5. Performing live is one of the best experiences in the world

Performing at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle

I will never forget the rush of getting a standing ovation when I performed in a community production of Hairspray. 

When I first started performing I was petrified, I finally understood what Eminem meant when he rapped “his palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.” But once I got over the initial fear, and stood on the stage for the first time, I felt exhilarated. I’ve know got the performance bug, and since then I’ve been cast in Oliver, The Producers and I’m currently rehearsing for Legally Blonde.

Standing ovation for Hairspray.

6. Music is subjective

It’s great how songs can be interpreted differently by everyone. When I hear ‘Shout out to my Ex’ by Little Mix play on the radio, I think of one of my past relationships, when other people hear this song, I imagine they might also have a similar personal connection but think of a totally different person. I like how you can share your stories with each other.

7. Music is an experience

Anyone that’s experienced the rush of seeing your favourite band, will understand exactly what I mean. When I saw Coldplay for the first time, I felt so emotional and excited all at once.

I also really enjoy sharing these experience with friends and family. Singing at the top of your lungs to your favourite artists with the people you love is a great feeling and leaves you memories that last a lifetime.

8. Learning to be a musician/ artist is really rewarding

I started learning to play the guitar when I was in First School, and I have been playing ever since. After a lot of finger blisters and nights locked in my room, I can finally play rhythm guitar confidently; however I know still have room for improvement. My passion for music fuels my dedication.

Below is a photo from when I got to the regional finals of Open Mic UK in Newcastle. I was super nervous and I performed my own song that I’d written for a friend who was going through a hard time. Seeing the positive reaction from the crowd was incredible, I enjoyed every minute of it and was even voted in the top three of the audiences vote. Unfortunately I didn’t get past that stage, but I’ll always remember the feeling of overcoming my fear.

Performing in Open Mic UK

9. Music is inclusive

When I first started performing in community musical theatre productions, I was slightly nervous, however after meeting a bunch of new people with similar music tastes; I made friends and had loads of fun, I felt like part of team. You can read more about how being in Hairspray changed my life here.

10. Music is about choice

There’s so many different genres to choose from, and you don’t even have to choose one! I adore the fact that you can decide what to listen to based off your environment and mood.

My music taste is very eclectic and ranges from the Spice Girls to Oasis, Stevie Wonder, to Ariana Grande. It’s impossible to list all my favourite artists because there’s so many.

Hopefully you can relate to some of the reasons on my list. If you have any more I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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11 Comments

  1. mphtheatregirl

    Contemporary Christian music can make me feel better when I am down- it had that effect on me in high school.

    Musical theatre is an escape for me- I am the one who is a theatre goer, but it definitely has changed my life- in particular the meaningful ones. Just like Wicked says, it is changed me “for good”. Long after the curtain falls, the characters and their stories continue to live in me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz

    In the past, when I have played certain music, it used to help me express what I was feeling inside. Some of Michael Jackson’s songs were ones I used to do that.
    Now music is to either feel upbeat, happy, or relaxed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. msb.life

    That’s so cool!! I agree that music can totally change your mood and lift you up, and I liked your cover of freedom!:) Also omg the rush of adrenalin that you must get at the end when they gave you a standing applause!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dellybird

    It is easy to see and understand your clear passion for music. Music really can take you to a completely different place very quickly – mentally, emotionally and in time. I love musical theatre but can’t dance because of my disability. Singing on stage is terrifying but it is also a very special experience. I love the community around theatre and music too. These days I usually direct and love watching it all take shape. Fantastic post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. aisasami

    I love these reasons! Music is life-changing and inspiring. It has helped me to express myself and inspired me to be better. And, like you said, it can have time-traveling abilities: I have songs that describe my first love, the first heartbreak, that summer of 1999, walking home from school, and etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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