Music Aids Healing and Recovery
What a lot of you don’t know about me is that I have a master’s degree in music. Through my studies, I had to do a lot of research on various ways that music promotes learning, healing and even recovery. The statistics are astounding. Music can be as powerful as modern medicine.
Think about it – music has been around as long as the human race. It is powerful. It is personal. It is physical. You, yourself, have a favorite song. There’s the one that always makes you smile. The one that brings tears to your eyes. The one that helps you recall a special time or event in your life. Music is powerful!!!
Let’s talk for a second about how music affects us physically. As a college student, I was asked to do some sort of experiment along these lines. Admittedly it was not scientific, but it was enlightening. I had several other students measure their resting pulse rates. We then played some fast, upbeat music and measured again. Pulse rates went up. We played some slower-tempo music and pulse rates went down. As non-scientific as it was, it proved to us that music had an effect on our bodies. Studies have shown that music can even decrease blood pressure!
Music can be a valuable tool to help people who are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse. I asked some friends who have either personally experienced addiction or have had family members experience addiction if music aided in recovery. Every single one answered with a resounding yes. One close family member admitted her struggle with alcoholism back in the 70s. I never knew that she had a problem. She said, “The music that helped was the Eagles. There were several like ‘Lying Eyes’. They wouldn’t let us listen to spiritual music or even a pastor to come see us it because they felt it would be too confusing for us. Music helped save me.”
Another said that the song that helped his recovery was the theme from Rocky. And another adopted the anthem ‘Hit Me with Your Best Shot’.
Although music alone is unlikely to help someone recover from addiction, it can certainly be an effective tool. How?
1. When people are newly sober, they experience many different emotions. Creating music can actually give them an outlet to express some of these volatile feelings.
2. One reason why many people relapse is because they have a difficult time managing stress. Listening to or creating music can be a way to manage stress levels.
3. Boredom can be another relapse trigger. Listening to favorite music can help to prevent boredom.
4. People who are newly sober often experience loneliness. After all, they have broken away from their circle of friends. Even their drug of choice was a “friend”. Listening to music may help to combat this feeling of loneliness.
5. Many people, when going through recovery, experience mental ‘fuzziness’. Music can help to improve focus and concentration.