The Canadian winter is often a tough one, sending heaps of snow and a lot more darkness. While the winter can also be filled with fun, grey skies and gloom can have a much deeper impact on your mental health than you might think. Short, dark days are a contributing factor to increased levels of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder, a depression-related condition.
In Canada, approximately 2.8 million people (or 10 per cent of the population) over the age of 15 are currently suffering from a mental health condition. Music is one of the great healers and you might be surprised to discover just what it can do.
Listening to music has been shown to increase the amount of dopamine in the body, and this is the hormone responsible for making us feel good when we do things we enjoy. Similarly, it reduces the amount of the stress hormone cortisol as well as decreasing your blood pressure and heart rate. It takes time to have a full effect, but just pressing ‘play’ is a step in the right direction.
Choose something upbeat and positive so you can benefit from an increased mood. For anxiety, a slow and steady beat works best to calm the mind and body effectively. Avoid sad music which has been shown to make symptoms worse!
Music therapy can be done as a group or privately and the activities can vary as well. Some classes involve creating music alone or together, while others are all about listening to music in a calming environment while drawing or writing – again, either alone or in a group.
Even after a couple of sessions, you may see a change in the way you manage things and deal with the symptoms of your mental health condition. It’s a great way to really let it all out, providing you with a healthy outlet and a supportive group of people who are ready to help you through it all.
Music really is a way to help restore your mental health and ease some of the pain you are going through. Whether you choose to kick back and play your favourite tunes, or you want to try out a few music therapy sessions it’s worth experimenting with to see if it improves your health.