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One Small Change: The Benefits of Music for Mental Wellness

Music can be a powerful tool to help boost mood and relieve stress

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — This week, we marked one year since COVID-19 drastically changed our lives and created mental health challenges for many. So, what are some small changes we can make to focus on mental wellness?

Enid Gaddis is the Director of Equity and inclusion for Arbor Circle and a licensed professional counselor working with children and families. She suggests we incorporate more music into lives.

"Music can really set the mood. It can be motivating, relaxing, grounding, can help with focus, be used in meditation or relaxation routines," she suggests.

"The human brain and nervous system are hard-wired to distinguish music from other noise and to respond to rhythm and repetition, tones and tunes.

The impact of music starts in the brain, where music activates many regions, including those associated with emotion and memory.

Music can enhance the function of neural networks, slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduce levels of stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines, and even provide some relief to patients undergoing or in recovery from medical procedures.

Especially in children, music can help regulate emotions and provide a much-needed break from overstimulation.

Related to last week’s topic -- dance, sing or move to music. These activities not only provide physical exercise, but they can also relieve stress and build social connections -- and they're fun ways to stimulate your brain."

A few references/sources:

Arbor Circle provides comprehensive counseling and support services that enhance the emotional health and well-being of individuals and families throughout West Michigan.

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