Music is something that many of us experience daily. Music plays a key role in film production, fills our ears with excitement while we drive in the car, and even helps us to connect spiritually with others and with God. You may have been introduced to music therapy during your time receiving recovery treatment, but have you continued to take advantage of all that music has to offer in sustaining and achieving long-lasting recovery?
Many people make the connection between music events and parties. As someone who is recovering from substance use, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of even attending these events. The good news is, there are a variety of ways that music can be enjoyed without being intoxicated – and if anything, the music sounds even better when you are sober! Engaging with music while you are sober – whether you are listening to it or playing an instrument – keeps you actively interacting with the present moment. Music can be a transformative therapy practice to further you on your path of sobriety.
Several psychological benefits occur when we listen to and interact with music. When we combine music and recovery, those benefits become even more clear. In the moments that you find yourself feeling weak during your recovery, music can be a valuable tool to help you stay on track.
5 Reasons Why Music Is a Powerful Tool in Recovery
#1. Music Reduces Stress and Increases Relaxation
In your personal life, you may have already experienced music as a useful tool to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Listening to music is not only considered a valuable action to reduce stress in daily life, but it also helps to increase feelings of relaxation. Put on your favorite song or album and feel the music. Notice how your body responds to certain genres or artists as you listen. If you are someone who likes lyrics, it is always enjoyable to find a particular song that explains exactly how you are feeling.
#2. Music Can Be Used as Means of Expression
If you are someone who struggles with self-expression, you might benefit greatly from music. Expressing how you feel or think is an important component of addiction recovery. Recovery often uncovers difficult emotions to process, although these emotions must be addressed in order to work through and beyond them. Perhaps you have neglected to find a healthy outlet for expressing yourself in the past or think you would not succeed in creating music. The beautiful thing about writing songs or playing instruments is that your work never has to be heard by others. Learn to play for yourself. You might be surprised by the outcome!
#3 Music Reduces Feelings of Loneliness and Depression
Individuals in addiction recovery are likely to experience feelings of loneliness and depression from time to time. Even outside of treatment, it may take months or years to develop a new and healthy life for yourself. You are learning to build healthy relationships and understand what relationships may cause damage to your recovery. Throughout these experiences, music can help you feel connected to others. Music is a tool to help you connect with your higher power and show gratitude and praise for your life. Many group therapy sessions utilize the power of music in recovery, as well.
#4. Music Fosters Self-Realization
People are likely to listen to certain styles of music because they like how the music makes them feel. The type of music that you turn to can tell you a lot about yourself, such as your internal feelings or how you choose to react to certain life experiences. Music has the power to increase self-awareness and promote emotional regulation. In recovery, self-realization is necessary to challenge unhealthy behaviors and foster personal growth. It is important to prioritize your feelings and emotions while you work through them in recovery.
#5. Music Can Heighten Energy and Promote Exercise
As mentioned previously, identifying and utilizing healthy coping mechanisms plays a key role in a successful recovery. One of these healthy alternatives is exercising. Exercise of any kind, such as yoga, running, or dancing, can help the brain and body produce necessary chemicals associated with the brain’s reward response. Many people choose to listen to upbeat or fast-paced music when they exercise. Listening to different styles of music can heighten energy and help distract people from feelings of pain and fatigue. Music is a natural mood elevator and can contribute greatly to improving your energy and endurance while you exercise.
There is no doubt that music is a powerful and valuable tool in and outside of recovery. Music has the ability to reduce feelings of stress while increasing relaxation. It also can foster feelings of expression and self-realization while reducing feelings of depression. Music can be used as a healthy coping mechanism to increase energy and promote exercise, as well. At Renaissance Ranch, music therapy is just one of the many therapy treatment options we offer to help you achieve lasting recovery. Outside of treatment, we provide support through our alumni network called the Band of Brothers. The Band of Brothers program is designed to help hold you accountable for sustaining recovery and can guide you through any moments of weakness. If you or someone you know is looking for treatment or support with addiction recovery, give us a call at (801) 308-8898. Our staff would love to speak with you about how to take your next step.