Music is often recommended and promoted for being a great asset to help your recovery. In times when people around the world are looking to find activities that will hold their interest, music is among the top recommendations. While the advice to pursue playing an instrument is great advice, you might wonder what it is about music that makes it so beneficial—and why you haven’t used music before now.
Music Facilitates Growth
Music is a therapeutic practice that promotes emotional, physical, cognitive, and social growth. These benefits will help you to connect with yourself. Music can raise your self-awareness, improve self-esteem, and help you recognize difficult emotions. Music is a great outlet to express a range of what you are feeling. The practice offers a willingness to participate, which helps promote more motivation during recovery. You do not need to be a musician to reap the benefits; listening to music can offer many of the benefits that playing music can.
Music improves memory. This is because music can induce a meditative state which allows for your brain to disengage, thus feeling free to wander away from the everyday thoughts that normally distract you. Likewise, even just listening to music can be beneficial for distracting as well as engaging your long term memory. Much like memories are often attached to smells, the nostalgia of hearing a song from your childhood could help resurface pleasant memories or specific moments from your past.
Music is based on rhythm and pattern. When you are playing music, your brain focuses on these patterns. This practice is causing your brain to organize information, thus helping improve the quality of your focus and clarity of your thoughts. It is even said that listening to certain composers such as Vivaldi and Mozart can promote focus, so the next time you need to distract your mind and focus on getting work done, try listening to these classical composers.
Reduces Stress on a Deeper Level
During a time when the threat of a breakdown is constantly pressing upon you, it is important to practice activities that help to maintain your stress levels. Making music a daily practice whether playing or listening, is a great way to defend against stress disorders. It can lower blood pressure, which helps defend against anxiety, depression, and heart disease. Music also defends against the potential for other underlying disorders that could be brought on by stress, such as stomach ulcers. This is because the repetitive movements and sounds help calm your mind, much like a mantra during meditation.
Improves Coordination and Function
Sometimes in recovery, you might become frustrated because you think you cannot perform the things you were once capable of. The daily tasks and stresses have you feeling like you cannot keep up and therefore feel as though your brain and body are out of sync. Music cannot only help you improve your functionality, but also recover some of the functionality that was damaged because of your addiction. Also, your mind needs to move quickly to tell your body what to do. Over time, both cognitive and reactionary functions can sharpen.
With the implementation of shelter-in-place orders, your day could be missing points at which it needs structuring. Learning to play a musical instrument or listening to music can be a terrific way to help build out the structure. Gaining proficiency in playing music takes work. Making the time for music will lend structure to your day, not just as a practice, but because you will have to plan the time to sit down and commit yourself to playing music.
While playing music can be just as enjoyable in solitude, it can also be enjoyed in groups. Just because you cannot have a physical face to face interaction does not mean that you cannot find a group or instructor online to play and learn with. The benefits of finding people to learn and play with further help with commitment and accountability. They also add a fun element to your online interactions, rather than defaulting to discussing the current situation.
Play or Listen
Whether you choose to pursue playing, or just listen to music, you should add music to your day. Have fun and take the time to build a soundtrack for your day—what you listen to while working, reading, exercising, or just relaxing. The idea is to enjoy the process and let its power distract you from negative thoughts. Playing an instrument typically does not cost much to get started; you can find yourself a quality acoustic guitar or keyboard at an affordable price, often costing less than $100. Allow yourself the option, because the power of music will help you discover things about yourself that you never thought were possible.
In times of uncertainty, it is important to focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot do. See these times as an opportunity to allow yourself to explore outlets and options you might never have explored before. If you are finding it hard to get started, that’s okay. You are not alone; the world is experiencing this together. It is okay to ask for help. True Recovery has an open ear 24/7 if you are struggling to find a schedule or activity that works for you. We are determined to help you find the care you need. If you are having any doubt, do not wait a moment longer—please call us today at (866)-399-6528.