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Music has the amazing power to touch our hearts and souls. The right song at the right time can move us in powerful ways, eliciting emotions ranging from brightest joy to deepest sorrow. Harnessing the power of music can also help brain injury survivors (along with the rest of us) make it through their days more successfully.
It is a common sight at a gym to see the majority of participants working out with music in the background to help keep them motivated and driven. This music tends to be upbeat and intense. This workout music highlights the ability of music to boost our performance. Survivors may want to consider using similar energetic background music while they are working out, whether in a gym or in therapy, to help them when they might be feeling low in energy. However, it is important to ensure that the music does not distract the survivor. An example of this pitfall to be avoided can be observed in a survivor suffering from substantial deficits in the arena of attention. A catchy song could cause this survivor to sing along and devote a disastrous lack of attention to foot placement while practicing walking. Finding the balance (whenever possible) between drive and distraction is important. Energetic music may also help mitigate general fatigue that can occur at any part of the day.
Music has the ability to lift us when we feel down. Following a brain injury, many survivors will display acute symptoms of depression or at the very least be significantly (if understandably) sad about their situations. Survivors should identify songs that lift their moods and listen to that music when they find themselves feeling low. These songs often tend to incorporate themes of hope and joy. Religious music is also a very popular and effective source of this helpful form of mood modulation.
Many survivors also face serious difficulties with stress and anger. Certain music can help individuals to relax and stay calm. Soft, classical music tends to be popular to ease stress and anger though other types of music can do this as well. Some individuals prefer listening to sounds of nature (such as waves lapping upon a beach) to reach a more calm state. Meditation music is a hot market and there is a huge amount of excellent music available both in stores and online.
Not every song will help with every mood and sometimes the music that is most helpful may not be the survivor’s favorite song or from a favorite band. What is most important is that the music in question leads to the emotional experience that the survivor would like to cultivate. Technology has advanced exponentially over the last few years, and survivors should take full advantage. A survivor can keep a playlist of songs to help influence his or her emotions on a smartphone, Ipod or other similar device that can then be accessed throughout the day. Remember that music can be an important part of any recovery process!
Learn about all of the Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute’s brain injury treatment services.