Music as a means to mental wellbeing

Calming your stress (pandemic or not) is as easy as “A B C, 1 2 3…”

By Karen Campbell

A friend recently invited me to “silent disco” on the beach. I was intrigued. Besides us, there were six other women and a leader who distributed among us wireless headphones, explained how to operate them, and then we were off! Our leader began dancing down the boardwalk, arms swaying, fingers wiggling, motioning for us to follow. As baby ducks follow their mother, we, too, fell in line, bopping to music that only the nine of us could hear.

It was in that moment the meaning of “silent disco” registered with me. I laughed out loud, exhaled a nervous “woo hoo,” tuned in to Gloria Gaynor’s soulful voice declaring “I Will Survive” and, without thought, gleefully descended onto the beach. I was liberated by the overwhelming energy. For a sun-soaked hour, my inner-child emerged, bouncing, pirouetting, twisting, and singing my stress and inhibitions away along the shore. Other beach goers waved, laughed and cheered. A few even joined us while the likes of Kool & the Gang, Michael Jackson, RUN-D.M.C., Chubby Checker, Bon Jovi and Aretha silently sustained our enthusiastic parade.  Stevie Wonder said, “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.” This was certainly true that day. It was the BEST. DAY. EVER!

When life is hard to navigate and we lose our joy, music can help.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” Again, truth! Musical melodies don’t discriminate. Music decreases anxiety, depression, and blood pressure, and it boosts mood, cognitive function, imagination, relaxation and sleep for all of us. Music can change our perception of things. It is a humble companion to wellness, easily accessible and applicable to everything.

You can cook while crooning to Frank Sinatra, burn calories to Beyonce, read with Beethoven, sing in the rain with Gene Kelly, have a sad-song day with Elton, curse your ex with Carrie Underwood, ride like the wind with Christopher Cross, vacuum with Aerosmith’s guitar, garden and yodel with Julie Andrews, walk with Bruno Mars, tailgate with Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” and Hootie holding your hand, belt out the Hamilton soundtrack in the car with kids, sing silly love songs like Paul McCartney, or just turn on a local radio station. You choose the genre, the volume and the setting–and voila! Instant physical and emotional wellness can be yours! That’s music to all ears!

With Gloria, I survived that day, and so can you. Reclaim your inner child, listen to your soul, create your own silent or out-loud disco. Darius Rucker has his comeback song, what is yours? Tune it up!