Notes on Music
March 31st 2017
Young people across Ireland have told us that music is one of the things they turn to most when feeling stressed. So why and how is music so helpful?
Music helps us to connect with ourselves and others which is so important for our mental health. Music can influence our feelings, sometimes picking us up, other times helping us connect with and express more difficult emotions. It can be as comforting as a good friend, bringing a sense of normality to our feelings, making us feel understood and less alone. Music can also bring us together with others, whether playing in a band, singing in a choir, or going to gigs.
Music is a great way to express yourself. For me, sitting down with my guitar and singing or writing freely feels just as good as keeping a journal. So find an instrument that works for you, or try your hand at writing. When it comes to expressing ourselves process is more important than product so don’t worry too much about quality. It’s for your eyes and ears only, unless you choose to share.
Confidence can come through learning a skill; putting time in, and seeing ourselves develop. Even if you can’t see yourself becoming the next Rhianna or Ed Sheeran, don’t be afraid to pick up an instrument and give it a go. If you’re already learning, stick with it and give it the time it deserves. We’ve all heard the phrase “Practice makes perfect”, and although perfect isn’t something we should strive for, we will see the benefits of our efforts which will help us to feel good.
Music can ground us in the here and now or transport us to another time and place, both of which can help us relax. I have songs that bring me back to summer evenings, hanging out with friends, chatting about everything and anything. When I hear those songs now I am brought back to those moments and filled with all the good feelings I had. We all have different tastes, so find what works for you, kick back, soak up the sounds and relax.
But if all the things that usually work aren’t making a difference it might be good to talk to someone; ideally with an adult you trust or if you are between the ages of 12-25 there may also be a Jigsaw near you who can provide support. Check our website here. Alternatively, log on to yourmentalhealth.ie and search for support services near you or talk to your GP about supports in your local area.
Joanna Burke - Senior Clinical Support Worker - Jigsaw Dublin City