Every family is its own story, what role do you play in yours?

Music is a gift to our souls. At any moment of time, our experiences can be enhanced, documented, memorialized and experienced through music! And there are songs which bring a particular joy to our step.

I call them my happy songs. 

Whenever I am feeling excited or thrilled about something I love listening to the Carpenter’s Top of the World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baSUO3zjneA

And when I’m in a deeper more grateful joyful mood it’s Into Van Morrison’s Into The Mystic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6r2P4W9Yog 

Music is cathartic. We can use music to meet ourselves where we are. I often suggest to clients that they find a piece of music or style that matches their current mood. It is healthy mirroring for the emotional self. When the mood is met, without a need to alter it, there is something transformative and calming to our nervous systems.

How does Music Help?

A recent literary journal states “…we found that people appear to listen to music for three major reasons, two of which are substantially more important than the third: music offers a valued companion, helps provide a comfortable level of activation and a positive mood…” The psychological functions of music listening, Thomas Schäfer 2013

“There are several mechanisms by which music can have this effect. First of all, music has positive physical effects. It can produce direct biological, such as reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels.

Also, studies suggest that exposure to lyrics increases positive thought, empathy, and helping behavior. The message in a lyric such as “We shall overcome” may be able to reach more people than all of the psychotherapists in the world combined.   

Research clearly demonstrates that improved social connection and support can improve mental health outcomes. Thus, any music that helps connect people can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental health.” Michael Friedman Ph.D. Brick by Brick Does Music Have Healing Powers? Psychology Today 2014.

Personally, ‘music as a companion’ is a technique I like to engage while folding my laundry or cleaning the bathroom. It feels like I have a trusted friend with me in the little things. Seventies folk is my typical playlist.

Listening is a mood shifter when you’re needing it. Sometimes I put on my Hawaiian station to evoke the vacation mentality on a mid-week morning mid-coffee. Music can nurture, inspire, provoke and eroticize. Music moves. These thoughts are universal, yet we don’t always consciously employ the healing powers when we need them most.

What is your music of choice when you need to meet the mood or shift your vibe?

What about when you’re down low, depressed or downright grieving? I once healed an entire relationship breakup listening to the soundtracks of Chicago and Cat Stevens.

Another fun activity is to make a playlist for 1) Each decade of your life or 2) Significant moments of your life thus far. It can be surprising to see what you come up with and it can be equally moving to play it back for yourself. 

Lyrics are fun to play with.

Have you ever noticed that a song you wake up with has lyrics that resonate with your current life? Song recall can illustrate parallels between the unconscious and the conscious. Next time you wake up with a song in your head, look up the lyrics and see what they are saying to you.

And when you are at a loss for words with someone and you want to let them know you are thinking of them, send music.

#musicheals #musicinspires #everythingisvibration #musicandmentalhealth #therapy #musictherapy #askval

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Valerie Tate

Reader Interactions


  1. Suzanne Quentin says

    Wonderful blog post Valerie, I resonate with so much of it! While healing through my own breakup I built a playlist for all the different things I was feeling and it really helped me to process it. This article gives great context for why that was so helpful.

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