Music as therapy

October 18, 2023

Music is a superpower of its own when it comes to health and wellness especially if you have inflammatory bowel disease.

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Do you use music to manipulate and enhance your mood?

I do! I’m serious, and I think it’s a fantastic thing!  It’s recently occurred to me that music is such a powerful tool when it comes to our mindset and mood. 

Remember when you were a teenager and you would put that song on repeat? It had the power to make you cry pretty much every time you listened to it without fail? Or the opposite, make you feel like you could take on the world!

I remember like it was yesterday the way it felt to be alone in my bedroom, with my headphones on, tuned out to everyone else, and tuning into my own feelings. I would sing along to an artist who was expressing something I felt, in words deeper than any I could ever come up with. Man that was great. Thank you Mariah Carey, your music kept me from losing my mind!

We know trauma and stress play a role in symptom exacerbations. So we have to find ways to deal with stress. When we hold back how we feel, we hold all that stress in our bodies. I think this is especially true when we are masking our true feelings of grief, sadness, disappointment, and abandonment.

Music as a tool

Music has the ability to evoke strong emotions and can be used as a tool for emotional regulation. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, and even alleviate symptoms of depression. And I think you should definitely use music to relive some of the emotional release techniques of your teenage years if you haven’t already!

Music has a profound impact on our brains, and there is a wealth of scientific research highlighting its positive effects. A few of my other favorite ways music can help IBD sufferers is releasing dopamine, helping to manage pain, reducing stress, and its ability to enhance social bonding.

When we listen to music we enjoy, it can stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that literally makes us feel pleasure and reward. Yes, I will take some extra happiness and satisfaction, how about you?! This can help with our perception of pain and also reduce cortisol levels (a stress hormone) in the body, leading to relaxation and stress relief.

And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what it feels like to sing along with your best friend at your favorite artists concert (hey Bey hive… I see you… we all see you).

Music can enhance a sense of community and belonging. There is no better time than now to get out and see some live music. For me, there’s nothing like going out and seeing live music. I walk away feeling so recharged and inspired by great artists doing their thing.

Music is a superpower when it comes to health and wellness

Whether it’s the chill vibes of reggae or the electrifying beats of EDM, each genre can tug at those emotional strings. If you’re like me, you might have not taken the time and energy to find your mood-boosting, soul- soothing playlists yet. Don’t worry, platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube offer a plethora of pre-made playlists that align with these mood categories. Just start searching for them and find what works for you! 

1. Calming and Relaxing:

  – Try instrumental tracks with slow tempos and gentle melodies. Classical music, particularly compositions by artists like Johann Pachelbel (“Canon in D”) or Claude Debussy (“Clair de Lune”), is known for its calming effects.

  – Nature sounds, such as flowing water, birdsong, and gentle rain, can also contribute to a serene atmosphere.

  – Playlist Title: “Tranquil Oasis”

2. Energizing and Motivational:

  – Upbeat pop, rock, or electronic tracks with catchy melodies and positive lyrics can boost your energy and motivation.

  – Songs with a higher tempo and rhythmical patterns are associated with increased arousal and activity.

  – Playlist Title: “Energize Your Day”

3. Happiness and Positivity:

  – Songs with major keys, lively rhythms, and positive lyrics are linked to feelings of happiness and well-being.

  – Familiar tunes that evoke positive memories can also have a mood-lifting effect.

  – Playlist Title: “Happy Vibes”

4. Focus and Concentration:

  – Ambient instrumental tracks or “study music” designed to enhance focus and productivity.

  – Binaural beats and instrumental pieces can be particularly effective for creating a focused environment.

  – Playlist Title: “Deep Focus Zone”

5. Mindfulness and Meditation:

  – Slow and steady compositions that encourage deep breathing and relaxation.

 – Tibetan singing bowls, nature sounds, and ambient textures are often used in mindfulness practices.

– Playlist Title: “Meditative Melodies”

Don’t forget, there’s delightful weather on the horizon. Embrace the opportunity to step outside and experience the exhilarating surge of joy that live music can ignite within your heart. 

And if you are curious what’s on my playlist… Click right here to access my “Endoscopy beats” playlist that I use for when I do procedures!

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I'm Dr. Leybelis

Mommy to 2 girls, wife to former NFL player, Latina, and practicing Gastroenterologist and I can't wait to meet you!

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