Using music for mental health, and the evidence to prove it.

I cannot abide silence. Not, I don’t like it. Not, I prefer to have music on in the background. I just cannot put up with silence. I’ll willingly talk to myself to fill the gap rather than sit through a period of time with no sound. And trust me, that gets you some funny looks on the tube!

Needless to say, then, that music plays a huge role in my life. And Spotify (the music streaming service) has been something of a constant companion since it first launched in the UK in 2008 as an invitation-only beta. (Is it really that long ago!)

More recently, I’ve noticed that the music I choose to listen to – or how I listen to it – can be a real indicator of my mood. When my mental health isn’t great, I tend to ‘flick through’ tracks even if I usually like them; too restless to listen to anything the whole way through.

That said, music can also be a great way of lifting me out of those occasional dips. Something upbeat, and feel-good, can be just what I need as a backing track for my mind to distract me from a place where I don’t want to dwell for too long.

Over time, I’ve knocked more than a few playlists of my own; featuring artists as diverse as U2 and S-Club 7 (no, honestly). But when I need cheering up, some of the stock playlists on Spotify are pretty good too.

This one’s actually called “Mood Booster“:

According to the mental health charity MIND and a study in the journal Nature (reported by BBC News); the reason I feel better after listening to music is because it causes extra dopamine to be released in my brain.

So it’s not just me, and there’s evidence to prove it.

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