Self-Care: Music to my Ears

Life can be unpredictable and chaotic, especially these days. It is important to take time for yourself. Like most things in life, self-care is on a spectrum. It looks different for each of us. Whatever you need is what it is.

Music has been shown to release dopamine within our brain. With this, music can help us express emotions, manage stress, improve memory, increase quality of sleep, and even improve communication. Music may allow you to sit with a mood, explore and understand it. You can also use music to help you change your mood or set a new mood. Once we are aware of how music affects us, we can then start to intentionally use it to improve our well-being.

During tough times, it may be helpful to be aware of your music choice by selecting certain songs, artists, or playlists that you know will help you cope in a positive way rather than setting your music on shuffle. If I want a pick-me-up, I like to put on 80’s music. It will automatically put me in a better mood. What music does that for you? Here is one of my favorite songs for you to enjoy.

In light of Sickle Cell Awareness Month, more research is needed to validate non-pharmacologic approaches to pain management in sickle cell disease (SCD). There have been a few small studies looking at the role of music in pain management and mood improvement in patients with SCD. For instance, the purpose of this randomized, single-blind study was to investigate the effects of music therapy (by a board-certified music therapist) as compared to recorded music listening as compared to no intervention. In short, participants who received music therapy experienced significant improvements in pain intensity and mood, whereas participants who received music listening only experienced significant improvements in mood. Both were better than no intervention (control group).