We’ve all of been here at some point: You’re running errands or walking about and a string of words poetically recorded in synchronization to instrumental echoes flutter thru the breeze and into your head. In one ear and out the other, music leaves this immutable trace of its presence in all forms of its wake. The beautiful thing about it is that despite your listening tastes, there is a form of music for everyone out there. This is why there’s chocolate and vanilla for those who get a different tingle from different jingles. Whatever your walk of life, the hills are alive with the sound of music.
Music for many is considered the international language of love. It’s a means by which we communicate and process feelings and emotions much of the time. Artistic expression in one of its finest forms as it provokes the soul. Understanding this opens up the door for music therapy to become a key instrument in the journey for recovery(pun definitely intended). Using the sorcery power of music therapy to aid the recovery process is as therapeutic of an approach as any other. The hums and echoes can stronghold or provoke any emotion intended as we harness that energy in early sobriety.
As prevalent as music is in the many existing cultures across the globe, it makes sense that it could be instrumental in addiction recovery as well. In fact, studies have shown that incorporating music into the recovery process often means better outcomes.You can incorporate music therapy into sobriety in a variety of ways such as writing music. Even if you have never written a song before, sometimes crafting your feelings or experiences into a musical piece makes it easier to express them. Or what about learning to play an instrument. The process of learning an instrument engages the brain in ways that will enhance brain function overall, even repairing some of the damage caused by substance use and abuse.
Even something as simple as joining a drumming group can do wonders. Drumming has been found to reduce stress and provide you with a positive way to spend your free time. Drumming with a group also gives you a sense of belonging, as well as the opportunity to meet others that enjoy the activity.
Then there are those who are extreme musical advocates but want nothing to do with strumming the notes or composing. Even for the “musicaholic” that prefers to listen, music therapy opens up a number of possibilities. Just listening to music can help you manage and communicate your emotions, meditate, relieve stress and provide motivation. Creating different playlists for different purposes provide you with the music you need for any situation that might arise. Or taking it a step further and using music to meditate is healing in itself. Meditation is beneficial in addiction recovery(as most of us know), but it can be challenging to train your mind to focus on meditation after long-term substance abuse. Music can help to center your mind, preparing you for more in-depth meditation exercises as time goes on.
Music therapy has been defined by the American Music Therapy Association as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship.” Scientists have found that music is a way to teach communication and expression of feelings to the people that have long used substances to lock away those emotions and reactions.
Essentially the right order of notes can stir up something very potent inside. Addicts and alcoholics are prone to numbing away reality, but the plethora of chemicals used to mask unwarranted emotions isn’t permanent. Music therapy in recovery can help to dissolve the walls put up in active addiction we give it authority.
By reclaiming your ability to feel and communicate, you break free of the addiction chains and learn healthier ways to relate the world and those around you. A number of studies have found that music has a positive effect on the brain. In fact, music therapy can repair some of the damage caused by substance abuse by enhancing brain function and reclaiming the reward systems within the brain. Harvard scientists specifically found in 2001 that music does indeed have healing power on the brain that can restore brain function after a substance abuse disorder left impairment behind.
In addition to its healing abilities on brain function, music therapy can offer the following benefits to clients in addiction recovery programs:
- Enhance relaxation and lower stress levels overall
- Improve symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Encourages and supports healthy feelings and thoughts
- Provides a way to express feelings
- Increases concentration and problem-solving skills
- Improves self-image and self-esteem
On a physiological level, music can even lower blood pressure and reduce muscle tension. Many use the influence of music therapy in a multitude of different activities. It’s common to find many addicts and alcoholics listening, singing along, or playing songs to help cope with the early recovery process. Music therapy causes us to listen to things that would ordinarily not cross the threshold of our thought patterns.
The wonderful gift helps with the atonement of introspection and the perceptions of others as enjoyment embraces the principles of recovery. The inspiration of music can cause the greatest of revelations if given the chance. Whether you use upbeat music to improve your mood and increase energy levels, or softer music to soothe your soul, music offers a myriad of positive results to those who listen to it regularly.