Art by Sierra Deak / Daily Nexus

Art by Sierra Deak / Daily Nexus


Music is one of the most beautiful and unique phenomenons to the human race. It has the ability to bring us from utter sorrow to pure ecstasy in the matter of a few minutes. Each genre and even song can evoke a new feeling within in us. Music has a mystical power that is often unexplainable, giving it a powerful hold on us. It is capable of altering our moods and affecting our intentions for the day. Therefore, it is important that we pay attention to the types of music we listen to, considering the heavy effects it can have.

For years people have researched and debated the true effects that music can have on our mental and physical health. When used with Alzheimer’s patients,  music has been shown to improve cognitive ability as well as boost the patients’ moods. Our emotions can be so heavily invested in a certain artist or song that the mere notes of a song can bring about a physical change in us. Any meaningful memories associated with music immediately come flooding back the second a tune is dropped. For example, anytime I hear “Take it Easy” by The Eagles, I’m instantly brought back to my childhood, in which I’m riding in the backseat of my parents’ 4runner driving to Colorado. Anytime I hear the first chords to Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” I’m on PCH, driving back to the airport after officially deciding to attend UCSB. Most of my major moments in life are associated with one song or the other. Music helps bring light to our lives. Without it, I’m of the opinion that nothing could ever be quite as spectacular. The varieties are endless; whether it brings drama and excitement or softness and tranquility, music intensifies any moment. It can build a connection that was never even thought to have existed. Emphasizing this controlling and electrifying aspect of music, it would seem apparent that this powerful characteristic could also affect us negatively.

Researchers have found that playing music can actually cause the body to heal itself, even taking the place of painkillers and anti-anxiety medication, giving way to the theory of “mind over matter.”

When sadness plagues us it feels natural to want to wallow in our pity as Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” plays on repeat. It seems fitting that the soundtrack of our lives should fit our mood as we sulk, dramatizing our tribulation. Sometimes the shedding of our tears deserves an orchestra. However, while this process may seem healing, it can also be harming. Surrounding ourselves with negativity when we’re already feeling down only counteracts any attempt at feeling better. The power of positivity truly resonates and makes a difference. Researchers have found that playing music can actually cause the body to heal itself, even taking the place of painkillers and anti-anxiety medication, giving way to the theory of “mind over matter.” If it is true that our own mindset can play a large role in our health, then we should do all we can to ensure that a positive outlook is maintained.  Uplifting and motivational music can help us to see the light when there only seems to be dark. It serves as a natural reminder that we are in control of our health and happiness. It can give our minds the positive nudge needed to get out of the negative headspace that has been inhibiting our contentment. Personally, when I’m feeling stressed, I prefer to put on some reggae to ease my mind. When I’m feeling depressed, the Mamma Mia soundtrack is put on repeat. It tends to brighten my mood. And lastly, when I’m feeling hopeless, all I have to do is play a soft meditation mantra to calm and bring myself back to my center.

As crazy and messed up as life can be, there’s nothing thrown at us that we can’t handle. Though it doesn’t always appear this way, we are all much stronger and powerful than we realize. Music is one of those crazy marvels that seem to make everything sensational when everything seems impossible. It helps us feel the things we must, even when we rather wouldn’t. It’s important to keep these things in mind when deciding on how to cope with our pain  in order to maintain proper health and wellbeing.