Music is not just good for the soul; it’s good for our mental health too. It accompanies us through both the worst of times and the best of times and can help us recover from our darkest periods. It encourages happiness and celebration but is also our greatest companion in times of grief and sorrow.
Almost everyone has turned to sad songs to help them with despair. Music is a wonderful way to process emotions, bring temporary calm and joy, and honor lost loved ones. Read on to learn how you can use music to assist you during your times of grief.
What is Grief?
When people think of grief, they think about losing a loved one. While this is one of the most challenging forms of grief, the truth is that people may feel grief whenever they experience any sort of loss. This can include death but also includes breakups, job loss, and health concerns.
Grief is also so much more than just an emotional process. It can affect every aspect of life, from work and relationships to physical health. People in mourning often feel numb and struggle to participate normally in life. They may withdraw themselves from society and not take care of themselves properly. Furthermore, grief can often last months or even years, completely altering the life of the person in mourning.
How Can Music Help Heal Grief?
One way that many people help cope through grief is by listening to music. You’ve probably done the same thing when going through your own experiences of grief. Maybe you have listened to sad songs when processing a breakup or written music about someone you lost.
Music helps grief in many ways, depending on how the person uses it while mourning. This can include using music to process emotions, bring temporary happiness, ease the mind and body, and honor a loved one. Read on to learn exactly how music helps heal and ease the grief.
Provides A Safe Space For Emotions
Though grief can be overwhelming at times, that doesn’t mean it is always safe to express those emotions. For example, you may not have the ability to process your emotions at work, and sometimes you may have to put your emotional needs aside to focus on other responsibilities.
Taking time to listen to music allows you a safe space to process your emotions. This is commonly experienced when partners in a breakup listen to sad love songs. The songs allow them the time and space to cry or let out their emotions in other ways. Music becomes a healthy medium for their emotions when other options are unavailable.
Furthermore, writing music allows you to express the emotions and thoughts you feel so deeply. You see this in songs about breakups or death. Sometimes regular conversation or experiences do not help you process your emotions adequately in the same way that writing a song or poetry does.
Accesses The Pleasure Center Of The Brain
There is a reason why music is so important to culture and civilization. Listening and making music activates the brain’s pleasure center, meaning that music brings joy, even in times of sorrow.
Though you inevitably need time to just feel sad during your period of grief, there are other times that you will want to feel some joy too. Joyful music helps elevate your mood and transcends you to an emotional level that few other mediums can do. Music has a magical way of shifting emotions so that those in mourning can feel some levity and joy in a period that is otherwise filled with despair.
Calms The Body And Mind
When in grief, there are times when emotions can feel like too much. The weight of the sorrow can be too heavy to bear. Music can help alleviate that weight and pressure by calming the mind and body.
This works for the same reasons as mentioned above. It allows you to release your emotions in a healthy way but also helps shift your feelings of pain and despair into ease and calm. This can allow your body and mind a period of rest, as grieving can take its toll on both.
Honors The Memory Of Loved Ones
Music is a wonderful way to help connect with the people you love long after they are gone. It has a way of transcending time and space, bringing back memories, and helping you connect with the souls of the departed.
Many people listen to the favorite songs of the people they have lost to honor their memory. Furthermore, many musicians will write songs about them to honor their memory as well. Either way works as a wonderful option to honor and remember those who are gone.
Other Ways To Work Through Grief
Though music can be incredibly powerful when healing grief, the truth is that it rarely is the sole treatment for so much sorrow. Grief is a difficult and complicated journey that requires multiple coping strategies and treatments to heal.
If you are struggling with grief, try some of these other options to help you heal.
- Talk to a counselor
- Surround yourself with supportive/loving friends and family
- Journal your thoughts and memories
- Take care of your physical health
- Accept and honor the emotions that arise during this time
Grief is a complicated journey to travel through. There is not one specific path or treatment that can easily help you through it. However, music can assist you on the journey by helping you process your emotions, easing your mind, bringing you a bit of joy, and honoring the ones you have lost. So in your time of grief, put on some music to help alleviate some of your despair.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.