I’ve encouraged women to tune in to music lately. I remember a day that wasn’t going very well for me. I was feeling down, lonely, and crabby. When I put on my favorite YouTube station, it immediately and noticeably lifted my mood. For many years, I had no idea what kind of music I liked. I listened to church music, and that was it. But, after going through a difficult divorce and being on my own, I experimented with radio stations to see what kind of music captured my attention. It ended up to be smooth jazz. Interestingly enough, I had never seriously listened to jazz before and had NO idea that I would love it so much. Now hearing the saxophone or keyboard mixed with this style, lifts my mood considerably almost everyday!
This is not new to science. Researchers have studied this already, actually for centuries. (Who knew?) The majority of research is about how music can actually tap into the process of comfort, relief and enjoyment.* Susan Boothby quotes in her article, “Does Music Affect Your Mood,” a study in 2013 that found that people who listened to upbeat music could improve their moods and boost their happiness in just two weeks. Also that music therapy programs can be designed to achieve goals such as managing stress, enhancing memory, and alleviating pain.
In the last days of my mom’s life, Hospice sent in a musician to sing and play guitar for her. I was there one day during the visit. The songs were pure comfort to me that day as I watched my mom slip away. Hospice knows the power of music.
After reviewing 25 trials, researchers concluded that music is a valid therapy to potentially reduce depression and anxiety, as well as to improve mood, self-esteem, and quality of life.
Studies have also found that for some people, sad music can cause negative feelings of profound grief. I think we’ve all experie