Songs have an underrated power in saving lives

Music has a different meaning to everyone. It is a powerful form of self-expression, and at that, one of the most easily accessible. Moreover, it is a medium that serves to connect people in the grand scheme of life. 

Everyone has an artist they feel closely connected to, or who has lyrics that deeply resonate with them. Artists sing about their most personal experiences and are still able to relate to wide audiences. Catering to the whole spectrum of emotions, music can also serve as a therapeutic tool in times of crisis. It is no understatement when someone says music has saved their life. 

Personally, I can name countless artists who have greatly impacted me, as well as songs that have saved my life and those of the people I know. Music is my favorite pastime, and I have continued to rely on it as a life force.

Musicians, both alive and dead, are considered heroes by many. People naturally idolize celebrities for their talent, but famous artists deserve a special kind of recognition for their breadth of emotional value. 

Mourning the death of a beloved singer is especially difficult because, at times, they are the ones who provide the closest form of comfort — an almost metaphysical shoulder to cry on.

A 2020 American Association of Retired Persons Music and Brain Health Survey of a nationally representative sample of adults concluded that listening to music had a positive effect on mental health. Music played in the background or at live performances was shown to alleviate depression and anxiety.

Research concludes that the act of completing a task while playing music can improve cognitive performance. There is also a correlation between listening to music that elicits positive emotions and memory formation being improved.

In terms of psychological benefits, the National Alliance for Mental Illness reported “Because of its rhythmic and repetitive aspects, music engages the neocortex of our brain, which calms us and reduces impulsivity.” By releasing those feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine and oxytocin, music can help affect mood regulation in the brain. 

People often listen to music that matches their mood, and one destabilizing factor is potentially leaving them stuck in a state of sadness, anger or depression. In order to alter mood states, music therapists first recommend listening to music that emulates one’s current mood, and then eventually settling into more stress-relieving music.

Especially because of isolation during the pandemic, people have turned to music to better their mental health. One of the more staggering social losses as a result of COVID-19 was concerts, which are a significant part of culture in sharing a love of music. 

Studies have proven that attending concerts regularly furthers subjective well-being, along with making people happier in their everyday lives than those who do not. It was also shown to improve relationships with people who attend together, which just goes to show the strong sense of bonding that music creates. 

As an avid concertgoer, seeing live music is one of the most raw and spectacular experiences I’ve had. Nothing compares to being surrounded by people who are passionate about the same artist or group. So many emotions envelop you at once: Feeling so happy you could cry, feeling like you don’t have a care in the world besides what is going on in front of you and feeling alive. The sum of these shared feelings about music can make one feel part of something so much bigger. 

In a literal sense, there is no doubt that firefighters, emergency medical technicians and the like are heroes. But the beautiful distinction about musicians is that they can be there for you when no one else is. 

At the click of a button, we can be transported to a safe haven. Breeding such strong mental and emotional connections, artists are able to connect with you at the most vulnerable states. 

I encourage readers to think of their own musical heroes and the role they play in their lives. Because we are so capable of listening to music we desire at any given moment, it is easy to lose sight of how much heart and soul is poured out by the artists we listen to. For their passion and power in creating a less lonely world, musicians should be labeled as heroes.

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