Time has shown again and again that music can change our mood and even perspective on life. Human beings are in tune with music, and we can easily sync up with beats that we hear. Music has a mysterious way of connecting with our mind, body, and soul. In addiction recovery, we may find that music can guide us into healing and restoration. Even if you don’t consider yourself musically talented, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of simply listening. The words, beat, and flow of the songs we listen to can shape us in ways we can’t even imagine.
Ways Music Impacts Us
Previous studies have explored how music affects the mind and body, and these are a few of the elements:
- Our Emotions – Through specific brain circuits, music can stimulate our emotions. This is a significant reason why mothers sing songs to their babies and why music is played at weddings – because music can evoke certain emotions within us.
- Our Memory – There is a part of the brain that associates memories and music. Even if we may not remember certain moments of our lives, we may recall specific details all because a particular song was playing at this time. Music can even make our memories of these moments even more vivid, and feel as if they are happening all over again.
- Our Learning – Neuroplasticity helps our brains heal from injuries and diseases while also helping us respond and adapt to new situations. Researchers have found that music can help those with health conditions learn proper coping mechanisms because it provides a sense of flow in learning.
- Our Attention – Music can effectively activate, sustain, and maintain our attention. Rather than staying distracted by the many thoughts that can arise throughout the day, music can help us stay grounded in the present moment.
Applying Music to Recovery
If music can have such a substantial impact on our daily lives, it would make sense that music can help us in addiction recovery as well. Music gives us a chance to hear someone else’s story – someone we can relate to and trust, and someone who has felt the pain we’ve experienced before. If you’re on the lookout for some positive, motivational songs, look up the following and prepare to be inspired:
- “Recover” by Natasha Bedingfield – as she sings about the pain and scars of surviving, she says, “…the worst is over…all those fires we’ve been walking through, and we still survived somehow.”
- “Sober” by Pink – having been sober since 1995, Pink created a song that talks about living a sober life and how great it feels.
- “Starting Over” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – having relapsed after 3 months of sobriety, Macklemore sings about the pain he felt in relapsing, and the inspiration he felt after he recovered. He says, “If I can be an example of getting sober, I can be an example of starting over.”
- “Exactly” by Amy Steinberg – a spiritual and very inspirational singer, Amy Steinberg sings songs of hope, positivity, love, and light. This particular song is about accepting the “here and now” and trusting in the process.
- “Workin’ On It” by Andy Grammer – another positive singer, Andy Grammer emphasizes that every step matters – no matter how small. In his song, he sings, “You know we’re just workin’ on it. No leaderboard keeping score, as long as you woke up this morning as said you’re workin’ on it…It might be taking forever, but it’s better than never.”
As you may guess, positive music can be found in various genres. You aren’t stuck with listening to one particular type of music. The good news is that through the exploration of finding songs that move you, you may discover that you love certain types of music you never tried before. As you feel more motivated and inspired, you’ll find that music is just the start of a journey that will enhance your mind, body, and spirit.
While simply listening to music can provide numerous benefits, music therapy can also be of added value to addiction recovery and treatment. Those with substance use disorders (SUDs) have, in the past, experienced some incredible insights relating to emotional expression, group interaction, development of skills, and quality of life overall. Music therapy is less about learning how to play an instrument or becoming a musician, but more about embracing the different modes of music that can help us feel more strongly about ourselves and life.
There are so many different treatment options that can be found in addiction recovery. The team at Choice House is dedicated to helping you create a personalized treatment plan that will change your life around. Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. One treatment approach may work for one person while it is not a fit for another. Music and music therapy is no different. If you find that you’re easily moved by music and have an innate connection with songs and rhythms, it might just be the key to success for you. Choice House can provide the experience and knowledge to guide you to the appropriate modality. Choice House consists of a large network of services, including inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and sober living facilities. Call us today at (720) 577-4422 to learn more.