By Russell Holloway
Christian Counseling Finder Co-founder
Music combines the expression of emotion with organized sound in a way that is sometimes life changing. It is a dynamic gift from God that can enrich the human experience. When we look at music through a theological lens, we learn ways music can make us better Christians. When we examine music through a psychological lens, we discover ways music can impact both physiological processes in the brain as well as human behavior through behavioral conditioning.
Music Can Be Used as a Tool to Help Process Emotion
Counselors sometimes use music as part of the counseling process. A person may be asked to provide a playlist of their favorite songs. People receiving this assignment often invest emotional energy into thinking about what music and lyrics best represent their situation. This can lead to important insights. It can also generate valuable dialogue between the person and their counselor, dialogue valuable to the counseling process.
Music Can Promote a Sense of Belonging
People do better when they feel joined to other people. Music is culturally significant. It has the power to connect us to a group of people, but it also has the power to connect us to an emotional experience. When we hear a song about loss we are invited into the songwriter's experience. We borrow their words and melody to help us understand our life events, and in the process we journey with the musician and feel less alone.
Music Can Improve Depression
Music is a teacher. There are studies that suggest that positive and uplifting music can change a person’s perception of self. Happy music can make happy people. Depression is often driven by negative self-talk. When a person sends their brain positive thoughts through music, depression can dramatically improve. The right music can help replace lie-based pain and depression with hopeful truth.
Music Can Help People Relax and Decrease Physical Pain
Music has a unique relationship with our emotions and our bodies. There are studies that show that music can help prepare us for a stressful life occasion like surgery, public speaking or a job interview. There are other studies that show the distracting nature of music can help people cope with acute or chronic physical pain. When pain is lowered or alleviated it goes without saying that people have more opportunity to experience happiness.
May your life be full of happiness, hope and Music!