Music and mental health

Music can play a big part in our lives. We listen to music when we are happy, sad, to relax or calm down or to pump us up ready to go. Some people find music listening or making music a way to express themselves, vent or communicate their experiences, thoughts and feelings to others. A song or a jam session can bring people together, and even make us feel better.

How music can help us feel better

Many young people report music listening helps them to feel better, work through problems, and free their minds. But sometimes listening to music isn’t helpful. It may be the choice of music, or it may just be us on the day.

The same song can do different things at different times. It can help you feel better one day, and not the next. So being aware of what’s happening when you are listening to music is the most helpful way to using music to feel better.

Do you have a song that you relate to that might be a way to let others know how you’re feeling? This way they might be able to understand what you’re going through.

Creating and listening to specific playlists for your moods and activities. However, remember sometimes listening to the same sad song over and over can also send you spiralling. Best to be aware of what the song is doing so that you feel better and not worse.

Young people and music

Young people have a unique relationship with their music, as it plays a significant role in their lives. For many young people, music is a way for them to “talk” especially when they find it difficult to say it in words. They also say that music is a way for them to identify with their emotions, and help them feel better when they are going through the ups and downs of growing up. Recent research shows that listening to music is as important to young people as their friends and being on social media.

Tips for using music as a family at home

  1. Listen to music together with friends and family when having fun, playing games indoors and outdoors.
  2. If you and other friends or family members sing and/or play a musical instrument – have a jam together, Christmas or birthday sing-a-long, family concerts. Even if you don’t play, you can pull up words from YouTube and sing together.
  3. Learn to play the ukulele or guitar together. Check online for ukulele groups around Brisbane.
  4. Playing and listening to music in the car together is a really helpful way for the child or young person to debrief after school.
  5. Songs are really personal to young people, they use them to relate and understand their feelings. Sometimes you might not approve of the swearing in the songs, but try to hear the real message of the song. So choose your battles. And remember music is not evil.