As we come to the end of this years Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May), which has been heavily based upon stress, research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this. I can say personally that music has helped me through many stressful situations, not just listening, but playing and performing too.
Whether it be a tough time at work, or a tricky time for the family, I think that music has a place in everyone’s life to be helpful in more than one way.
For me, the social aspect of music is fantastic – being able to spend time with like-minded people and all enjoy a mutual love of one thing is very stress-relieving. It also gives you the chance to find outlets and support networks that are so crucial when dealing with mental health.
To counter-act that completely, I also love the fact that I can put on a pair of headphones, plug in my phone, and walk. I can walk for as short or as long as I want, I can go on my own or with my dog, and just listen. It helps me to take everything off my mind and to de-stress/relax/contemplate.
If the weather is bad, or I don’t fancy a walk, that’s where practice comes in so handy. Being able to concentrate on one bar, one scale, a piece of music, an orchestral excerpt – they all allow you to take yourself out of the stressful situation and enter into a completely different world. This for me personally, has helped hugely.
We should be helping each other, and with that, here is what a group of my friends and I do – we regularly find music from all different genres and styles and we share it between ourselves in a group chat. We don’t all necessarily enjoy the music, but it’s lovely when you open up a piece of music and listen and suddenly it relaxes you. The 2-3 minutes of devoted listening time can work wonders with mental health.
Maybe try it out, or even let us know about your favourite pieces of music that help you relax and unwind after a stressful day.