I’ve written about the power music can have on emotions and mood in my blog but here I want to talk about the beneficial psychological effect of playing an instrument.
Many, many years ago my dearest hubby bought me a keyboard as I thought I would like to learn piano, needless to say within a few months my desire to learn had passed and so it lay unloved, gathering dust. Then Christmas 2016, I suddenly decided that I wanted to try and learn again, however, this time my determination stuck and for most of the following year I practiced and showed definite improvement. I also discovered that, although mentally challenging, I really enjoyed playing and could focus on it completely… playing piano distracted my mind from ruminating on depressive thoughts and helped steady my mood. In learning and mastering each new piece I felt a huge sense of achievement which boosted my self-esteem and lifted my mood.
With guidance from my psychologist I learnt that I could use piano as a technique to stop intrusive thoughts, and to calm me in times of stress or distress. I began playing piano first thing in the morning to set my day up in a positive way and this helped ease my depression.
I imagine a similar benefit would be achieved from learning, or playing, any instrument and I’m sure there’s a whole load of evidence that singing would also accomplish this.