A Music-Centered Recovery

January 27, 2020

Music has the power to lift and heal like nothing else in this world. It makes us want to sing, dance, or play along with our own instruments. It also helps to reinforce new thought processes and habits. We can explore our own music, too, by writing songs about our journey or learning a new instrument. For some of us, music is our world. So it makes sense that music could be at the center of our recovery.

Power to Heal

It has long been known that music has the power to heal. From a mother singing a soothing song to a child for relaxation to using the scientifically proven methods of reducing anxiety and stress with music therapy. Music therapy is often used to reduce depression or even the effects of serious mental disorders like schizophrenia.

In recovery, music can help us heal by allowing us to access and release emotions. It can help improve our moods and can also help with cognitive function, helping us remember things. Music can help us regulate our emotions when we choose music for the desired mood. It has the power to reach inside of us and unlock joy or pain and help us to feel those things throughout our bodies.

Lift Up Our Voices

Singing along with music has added benefits. In a study done in Austria with adolescents, listening to music encouraged calm. However, the group that sang along with the music had significantly reduced levels of cortisol, our stress hormone. They sang away their stress.

Singing in public may be stressful for people who are worried about their musical skills, however, when we let go of inhibitions and just sing, there is a power of joy and release that doesn’t come from any other way of expressing ourselves. When we let go and lift up our voices, we quite literally find our voices.

Move Our Bodies

Moving with music is helpful to our whole bodies. We do not need to be a professional dancer to allow our bodies to just move along with music. Not only does this help our physical well-being, it actually can strengthen our immune system as we both move and experience positive psychological events together.

Dance is powerful in recovery because it is a diversion from pain, psychological and physical. It also helps us work through stress both mind and body. This includes decreasing symptoms such as tension and fatigue. As we move our bodies to music, the music and movement combine to cleanse our bodies of tension and stress, while invigorating us and helping us feel and live healthier.

Writing Our Journey

Writing music is a very powerful way to express emotions. We can write lyrics, or even just poetry, or we can write music, or entire songs. In recovery, it is about the power of writing at whatever level we are at.

We can write songs about our recovery, about our struggles with addiction, about grieving or about the losses we have sustained. We can write about the freedom we feel as we move forward, the gratitude we have for life, finding God, or the way we are starting to love ourselves as we heal. For those of us who are musicians, or even those who want to explore music, writing songs is a powerful tool in our journeys.

Learning a New Instrument

Maybe there is a musical instrument that we once studied but have long forgotten. Or maybe we already play one or more instruments but would like to learn a new one. Perhaps we have never played but would like to learn an instrument. Recovery is a perfect time because it is a time for starting over anyway. Along with the newness and excitement of learning a new instrument, learning a skill like this helps with our discipline, self-mastery, and gives us structure. It can also provide us with new ways to socialize as we collaborate with other musicians and have fun together.

Reinforce New Habits

We can also use music to reinforce our routines. We can make a playlist and let the music help us not only remember what we are supposed to be doing, but also help us through it. For example, when it is time to wake up, we might choose a song that we really like that gives us energy. When it is time to exercise, we can choose music that really helps us get moving and inspires us. We might choose reflective music when it is time for therapy or meetings, and choose very calming, soothing music for our meditation. We can find spiritual music that we listen to for prayers or worship, and quiet, calming music for when it is time to go to bed. 

Music has the power to heal, to calm, to uplift, to inspire, to make us move, and so much more. When we choose to center our recovery around music, we give ourselves extra powers and protections that music brings, as well as extra joy and other powerful emotions. Let Steps Recovery Centers help you find the songs in your heart. Contact them today.

Wondering what types of therapies might be best to try or what services would be the best fit for you? Call Steps Recovery Centers today – 385-250-1701– to talk with one of our trained clinicians. With levels of care from outpatient to residential, we can meet you where you are and help boost your journey to recovery.

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