Here’s An Easy Solution To Dramatically Improving Your Mental Health

THE POWER OF MUSIC TO SHIFT YOUR MOOD

2020 has been a difficult year. If you’re feeling frustrated, angry, or depressed right now, you’re not alone! All over the world, people have been trying different strategies to cope with their feelings, including yoga, meditation, exercise, binge-watching their favorite TV shows, and even baking banana bread. But perhaps the most universal outlet and cure for pent-up emotions is music.

Do you remember the clip that went viral in March of Italians in quarantine, singing together from their balconies? If you do, that’s probably because it made you smile. TIME heralded it as proof that “the country’s spirits are still strong,” and it’s just one small example of how
music uplifts people. This isn’t just an anecdotal effect, either. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, music can help us process emotions and fight mental health conditions like anxiety, dysregulation, depression, trauma, sleep disorders, schizophrenia, and more.

So, how can you take advantage of music’s power to turn your mood around? One option is to create music of your own, but another is simply to listen. When it comes to flipping a bad mood on its head, a survey conducted by the Family Center for Recovery (FCR) suggests that rock is the genre of choice.

“During any given year, depression affects approximately 5%–8% of Americans,” FCR reports. “According to our survey participants, the vast majority — around 89% — turn to music in order to feel better. The top genre for depressed listeners is rock, followed closely by alternative, pop, and hip-hop/rap.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the blues came in last on the list.

To put the power of music to work, create playlists for each mood that you want to turn around, like “Anger,” “Frustration,” “Sadness,” “Anxiety,” or “Grief,” and fill them with songs from genres associated with fighting that feeling. According to FCR, rock is the most popular antidote to sadness and anxiety, and it’s also high on the list for anger, along with pop and country. Frustrated people opt for variations of rock, pop, punk, and heavy metal, and those stricken by grief turn to soft rock or soul. The artists are up to you, so fill up your lists, press play, and let the music do its work.

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