Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Using Music to Ease Depression

Shakespeare wrote "If music be the food of love, play on".  Music can, indeed, be the food of love, and of every other emotion.  It also has great power, particularly through the use of emotions, to heal, improve relationships, improve your memory, study far more effectively, and help you grow and develop your personality.

Take depression for example.  Now before anyone thinks I am suggesting you avoid medical treatment, I am not.  Depression is a serious illness and therefore has to be taken seriously.  If you think you might be suffering from depression your first port of call should be a doctor.  But having said that, music can be used very effectively to help ease the symptoms of depression.  It is also a great way of dealing with a melancholic mood that may or may not be caused by depression.

How should you use music to help ease depression, or the blues?  You should create a playlist of appropriate tracks of music.  Begin the list with music which seems to match your depressive mood.  Melancholic, slow tunes.  Blues music would be a good start - or perhaps Fado or Enka if you are familiar with those styles.  If you enjoy classical music, then perhaps Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata, or Wagner's "Liebestod" from "Tristan and Isolde" would be appropriate.  The key is to use music you like, of whatever style, but which clearly matches your mood.

Believe it or not, just listening to this kind of music matching your mood can change your mood completely, hence the popularity of blues music for example.  But do not stop there!  The next step is to select some tracks that are more "mid tempo".  Ones that are a little faster and feel a little happier.  An example might be "Only the Lonely" by Roy Orbison, or Bach's "Air on a G-String".

From there, move to some more "up-beat" and happier pieces of music.  For example "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys, or "Für Elise"by Beethoven.

Finally, end your selection with some really joyful, faster tempo pieces.  "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys, "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles, Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever", or the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's 9th Symphony (i.e. the final movement) all spring to mind.

When you play this selection, in that order, you will find it lifts your mood.  You should find yourself in a much happier state by the end.

Again I stress this is not a cure and is not intended as an alternative to medical advice when needed.  But it can certainly help alleviate symptoms of depression, and is certainly very powerful when you are simply feeling low and want to snap out of that mood.

Don't wait until you need to use this playlist.  Create it now, and then keep it ready for when you really need it.  If you wait until you need it you will find it much more difficult, and perhaps even impossible, to create it properly.

Make sure you use styles of music that you are comfortable with.  I have given examples of pop music from the 60's and traditional classical music, as these are styles I enjoy.  If you click on the title of each track I have suggested you will be able to obtain a copy if you do not already have it.  But you can equally use modern rock, punk, hip hop, new age, or anything that moves you.

The example I have given is just for lifting your mood, and it will do that in a very powerful way.  There is not enough space here to go through all the other ways you can use music in your personal development journey, although I may introduce some more in a future blog if enough people ask me to do so.  But you can see the technique I have used here, and can then modify it in order to create different playlists for different purposes.

If you are interested in pursuing this further, check out "The Tao of Music" by John Ortiz.  You can get a copy here.  Alternatively, if you are in the UK, try this link: UK Version.

Get going now and start using music to improve your mood!

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