The Soothing Effect of Music on Grieving Individuals

Young beautiful woman in bright outfit enjoying the music at home

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are right around the corner. As these holidays draw closer and people are reminded of warm memories they made with family and friends growing up, it’s easier to fall back into grief over loved ones who have gone. And you would do well to remember that grief isn’t linear.

The American Psychological Association reiterates that there’s no “normal” time period of grieving the loss of a loved one. For some, it would take a few months to come to terms with the loss. For others, the grief remains and fluctuates for years.

Human beings are built to endure loss. But there’s nothing wrong with hiring bereavement services or visiting a licensed mental health professional in cases of severe or complicated grief. Alternatively, you may turn to art and music for comfort.

Consider the different ways music can help you move on from your loss or, at the very least, come to terms with the fact that it will be a long time before you can reunite with loved ones who have passed.

Music provides a safe space for your thoughts.

Every good song has a refreshing beginning and a satisfying ending. It’s a gentle reminder that life has a natural start and end. More than this reminder, however, those few minutes you spend listening to one song give you a safe space to feel whatever emotion it is that the song evokes.

For example, an upbeat song like Walking On Sunshine by Katrina And The Waves could give you the burst of happiness that you need to get through the day. Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles might be the hopeful reassurance that better days are coming. Or you could simply get lost in the symphony of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody if you don’t want to think or feel anything heavy.

Whatever it is, one song could remind you that whatever it is you’re feeling right now, will be over before you know it.

Music helps you express your emotions.

A young lady enjoying her headphone's music

There are different ways that music can help you express your emotions.

First, you can explore different music genres so you can more easily identify what you’re feeling. You can listen to slow, melancholic music that reflects your sadness over a loved one who passed away. Or you can blast loud music with heavy drums and a strong bass line if you feel frustrated about your loss.

Regardless of how your voice sounds, you might want to sing along to the music you’re playing. The lyrics could be cathartic for you, especially if you struggle with the words to describe how you feel.

Alternatively, if you play music or if you write songs, consider making a tribute to your loved one. They might no longer be physically around to hear what you have to say about them. But you gain comfort from the thought that you’ve said what you want to say to them and about how the situation makes you feel.

Music has the power to keep you calm.

Music has been scientifically proven to affect your mind and body. Music that plays at around 60 beats per minute causes the synchronization of your brainwaves and the beat. The resulting alpha brainwave, which ranges from 8 to 14 hertz, echoes your relaxed and conscious state. Meanwhile, you need to spend at least 45 minutes listening to music with a delta brainwave of 5 hertz if you want to relax and fall asleep.

You will feel calmer and more relaxed if you listen to music with a slow tempo. On the other hand, you might be able to concentrate better and feel more optimistic by listening to more upbeat music.

If you feel like you need to be grounded, or if you feel like you need a little push to make it through the day, pay attention to the type of music and the pace of the songs you’re listening to.

Music helps you honor your loved ones.

The COVID-19 pandemic made people feel more isolated than ever, especially those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. But music helps you connect with other people and honor the beloved departed.

Music can start conversations when you recommend songs or get song recommendations that might help ease your bereavement. More importantly, because music connects people with memory, you can play the songs that your departed loved one was fond of or that remind you of them whenever you miss them.

Try using music as a tool for coping with grief. It might just be helpful in processing your feelings and accepting the reality of the situation.

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