By Elisha Evanko, MT-BC
Music has been used as a tool for connection, communication and healing throughout history. Our earliest ancestors prioritized music making amongst basic survival needs, religious leaders provided music within spiritual practices and Greek philosophers considered music as medicine for the soul. Music is known for being a universal language, something that connects all of humanity regardless of culture, time or distance.
Perhaps one reason music is so powerful is its unique impact on who we are as human beings. Music reaches the soul and can help us express the core of who we are as individuals. A song or an instrumental piece can represent the heights and depths of our emotions. Often, music can provide comfort like an old friend. Most of us have a favorite song, artist, or instrument, but maybe most importantly, most of us have songs that make us feel something. What songs make you smile, bring you to tears or make you want to dance? Those songs provide little keys that unlock your heart, and in time, can help you heal. Let’s call those songs with a deep emotional connection “heart songs”.
Heart songs may be used as a tool for support and can provide an opportunity for healing. Many of us have been taught that if we feel sad, we should listen to a happy or upbeat song to “cheer up.” However, research suggests that ignoring or covering up emotions can be harmful. Instead, healing comes from recognizing and expressing our feelings in a supportive, judgment-free way. So, next time you’re feeling angry, try listening to a heart song that matches that energy and for the duration of the song scream, stomp on the floor or do whatever you need to do to feel that anger without being destructive. Maybe next time you’re feeling sad, listen to your sad heart song, allowing yourself to cry. Though some feelings can be initially overwhelming, we are more prepared to move forward with our day and find peace after experiencing, acknowledging and releasing an intense emotion.
I encourage you to create a playlist of your own, allowing the music of your heart to support you on your journey and to help you heal.