February is mental health awareness month, and while it is seldom discussed, it is absolutely crucial that we educate not only ourselves but one another on how to maintain and better our mental health. And what better way to do so than with music! Something that we all love.

What many people don’t know is that music can do more than simply lift one’s spirits. In fact, several studies have shown that listening to music can reduce both stress and anxiety levels due to the fact that it affects the amount of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress-inducing hormones that the body releases. This works best with slow, low-pitched, instrumental music.

Listening to music has also been proven to aid in regulating emotions as well as improving a person’s overall frame of mind, this is because listening to music, especially our favourite music, is shown to release both endorphins and dopamine; which not only provide an increase of enthusiasm but are also absolutely necessary for both mental and physical health. According to psypost.org, the dopamine released when listening to music serves as a “reward experience”. For that reason, allocating some time each day to listen to your favourite music is likely to improve your mood and boost your eagerness.

However, it is important to add that we are by no means suggesting that people who suffer from mental health issues should rely solely on music. In fact, several studies have shown that music is especially helpful with reducing stress and anxiety levels when coupled with the typical treatment for them, as opposed to using the treatment, or music, alone.

One final benefit of music is that it serves as an excellent distraction from troubling thoughts, and intense emotions, which can be especially helpful for people who suffer from mental health issues.