Anxiety disorder is the single most common form of mental illness in the United States, with over 40 million adults living with the condition. Major depression isn’t far behind, with 16.1 million individuals diagnosed with the ailment in the U.S. alone, and millions more living with the persistent depressive disorder. Unfortunately, for many people, therapy and medication alone aren’t enough to provide consistent relief. And while many attempt other non-traditional forms of therapy to combat their symptoms, from acupuncture to cupping, there’s a simpler all-natural way to ease your plight: music. That’s right: music is a great way to soothe some of your depression and anxiety symptoms in a hurry—just read on to find out how:
Music can make you exercise for longer: For many people suffering from depression and anxiety, the decision to hit the gym can be a difficult one. However, if you do make it to the gym, a great pump-up playlist can help you work out for more time—and enjoy a well-deserved endorphin boost, that can improve your mood, too. According to research from the American College of Cardiology, listening to upbeat music prolongs the amount of time people exercise for, meaning you can get fitter both inside and out.
Music makes your brain more adept at a variety of tasks: While anxiety and depression can make virtually any task seem harder, listening to music can actually make the difficult things you do on a daily basis seem easier. Research conducted at the Baycrest Centre published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences reveals that people with a musical background used less of their brainpower to complete a memory task than those who didn’t.
Music reduces anxiety, even after surgery: Before you add another medication or alternative therapy to your treatment plan for anxiety, try music on for size first. A study published in the journal Pain reveals that, following open heart surgery, people who were prescribed treatment with music experienced both less anxiety and less pain than those who went without, so there’s no better time to start building the perfect playlist.
Playing music can improve confidence: Both depression and anxiety can wreak havoc on a person’s confidence, leaving them with a nagging voice in their head that says they simply aren’t good enough. The good news? Music might just be the cure. In fact, researchers in Iran found that playing music significantly boosted confidence in both male and female school-aged study subjects.
Music reduces physical pain: The pain of mental illness often goes beyond the psychological, creating sometimes debilitating physical symptoms, too. The good news? Music might be the solution you seek. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology: Clinical and Health Psychology, fibromyalgia patients who listened to music experienced less pain and enjoyed greater mobility than those in a control group.
While depression and anxiety may be complicated ailments, getting them under control may be easier than you think and can be done from the comfort of your home. A little music on the menu can help you relax, de-stress, reduce pain, and may even help you lead a healthier lifestyle in the long run. So, what are you waiting for? The perfect playlist is out there waiting for you to find it.