How A Song From The Color Purple Improved My Mental Health

Coming from a musically inclined family, I grew up watching Broadway musicals like Wicked, Cats, etc. Since our home was only an hour away from New York, it became part of our tradition to drive there during the yuletide season to see an incredible show or two. The traffic was undoubtedly awful, but the musicals made our suffering on the road worth it.

Now, while growing up, my parents allowed me to watch kid-friendly Broadway shows. E.g., Annie, The Lion King, and even Newsies. When I went to high school, though, our family dynamics changed drastically.

It started when Mom found out that Dad had an extramarital affair one too many times while on business trips. My father wanted to make amends, but my mother—bless her soul—practically informed him that second chances weren’t available. Thus, she kicked Dad out of the house and went on to file for divorce.

The perfect life that we had fallen apart within months. All of a sudden, I needed to go back and forth to different houses. Mom had me on weekdays, while Dad got my weekends. I could not complain verbally about this setup, but it made me want to move across the country and stay away from my parents.

Forgetting Broadway

The divorce meant that neither of my parents was willing to continue our family tradition on Broadway. They did not even bother coming up with an excuse; they only said that it was no longer in the cards. Then, I got accepted to UCLA, and my musical-watching days became a history.

Although LA was fun, I felt miserable there. At one point, I wondered if my childhood was nothing but a lie. Were my parents genuinely happy during our trips? Did Mom put up with Dad because of me? Such questions swirled in my head repeatedly for some time, to the extent that I started sinking the depression hole.

I remembered the first time I got drunk. A friend told me that that’s a quick way to forget your worries, albeit momentarily. And when the alcohol hit my system, I understood what she meant. I kept drinking whenever I thought of my problems, which was almost every day. I only realized how low I had gone when I failed all my classes, and Mom coaxed me to go back home.

Seeing The Color Purple

When I came back home, I met my parents at a restaurant. It was the only time they met out of court; even when I went to LA, Dad merely gave me a call to say goodbye. They agreed to be in the same room together because they wanted to do a little intervention on me and ensure that I would not throw away my life before it even started.

In truth, I stopped drinking ever since I flunked at UCLA. I realized it did not help me at all and perhaps ruined my chances of becoming a doctor. But of course, I did not tell my parents that. Instead, I just allowed them to think that I needed this intervention so that I could see them agreeing on something after a long while.

Before the dinner ended, my folks said that I could try applying at NYU. The next day, I dropped in the campus to send my application and walked around the streets to familiarize myself with the location. Even if I wouldn’t get accepted, I thought of looking for a job around the area.

After a few minutes, I was standing outside of a theater where they were doing the production of The Color Purple. I heard about its movie version back then, but I never got to watch it. I had no inkling who Cynthia Erivo was at the time either, but I knew that Jennifer Hudson’s a powerhouse singer. For the first time in years, I was in the third row of a Broadway theater to watch a Broadway musical.

Listening To “I’m Here”

The play took place when African-American women were still oppressed. The main character had been wronged many times in her life, and I felt so sorry for her. Then, she sang “I’m Here,” which blew me away.

There was no way I could relate to the main character’s hardships, but it hit home when Cynthia Erivo sang, “I’m gonna take a deep breath; I’m gonna hold my head up. I’m gonna put my shoulders back and look you straight in the eye.” It was such a powerful part of the musical and showed the actress’s heart. I was already shedding tears silently before I could stop myself.

When the Broadway musical ended, I felt a change of heart. I forgot about our family issues and suddenly felt like going home and hugging my mother. I also wanted to walk around the city with my head held up high—just like what Cynthia Erivo said—and show the world that I was ready to move forward.

 …

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My Music Therapy: Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next

I was a tag along during the 2019 Music Therapy Conference. The music therapist was my best friend, Gigi, and not me. I am a skin care consultant, and because I owed Gigi my time, she asked me to accompany her to this conference. At first, I was bummed out when she pulled out the “you-owe-me” card and said, “Come with me to the music conference.” I was like, “What??? Seriously? What am I going to do there?” When she said that she just needed my presence, I understood. My oldest and dearest friend needed my support.…

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Music Therapy Is Legit

I am delighted to have attended the 2018 Music Therapy Conference at Capilano University. Not many people understand how we, music therapists, can assist clients through music therapy. Those who do not know of its essence laugh at our face and say, “Hey, you’re ripping us off!” But what is music therapy anyway? Can it help a person with his mental health?…

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The Meaning Behind Rihanna’s Unfaithful 

Several songs can put down your souls and lift them up at the same time, and this song has that quality. The song “Unfaithful” is talking about a broken relationship where the girl is cheating on his guy even though she knows that the guy knows about this. In singing this song, Rihanna puts little voice cracks and high pitches that make it more dramatic. She did a fantastic job of interpreting the song. 

“We all know that both sexes are guilty of infidelity and that blame for a broken relationship is not the fault of a gender, but there are several aspects of male infidelity that are more attributable to men then women.” –Katrina Bilhimer, Ma, LMHC

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New Rules: Musical Review

 

“New Rules” by DuaLipa has been on the majority’s top 10 lists after it was released on August 2017 in the US. Before that, it was released in England as a single in July. It also boosts her career as a singer-composer and includes her in the most searched artist on Spotify. It talks about rules for those who had their breakups. 

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Julia Michaels’ Issues Review

At her very young age, Julia Michaels already wrote several songs for other artists. This includes “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld, and Ed Sheeran’s recently-released single “Dive.” It was in January of 2017 she released her first single as a signed solo artist under her name. 

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The Hidden Power Of Music

You will agree with me that everyone loves music regardless of race, color, age or gender. One can be observed playing music while driving a car, taking a bath, doing office work and even when sleeping. Music is such a common language that everyone can relate to but will depend on the personal preference of an individual on its genre, singer or words being portrayed by a song. Because of this, singers became one of the highest-paid professions in the world. Do we ask ourselves, “Why is everyone hooked to music?” Does it affect our life or just a plain vice that everyone tends to abuse?…

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How A Particular Song Saved Me

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All of us have very different opinions as to how music affects us. However, for me, things are way a little closer to perfection. I always love music as a kid, and until now on my 20’s, I still make sure that I associate my everyday duties with the songs I like. But that is not going to be the topic of this article. Since a lot of people don’t know how music works in rough times, let me share how it changed my life. Because as Daniel J. Levitin, PhD used to say, “While music has long been recognized as an effective form of therapy to provide an outlet for emotions, the notion of using song, sound frequencies and rhythm to treat physical ailments is a relatively new domain.”

The Mental Health Battle

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Things in my life are pretty much standard. Honestly, I can’t complain because there is nothing to complain about either. I have my family that supports my small and huge life decisions. I hang out with good influence friends. Happy individuals in our community also surround me. With that, there is nothing I can elaborate more. However, though I get encircled with great people, I experienced a strange chill inside. I am not happy and contented with things. I once thought it was something usual because it sometimes goes away and then comes back and goes away again. I didn’t pay enough caution to the mental health side because I am entirely sure there is nothing to worry on the physical state. But then, I was wrong. I get diagnosed with major clinical depression, and it was worse. It is like what Lillian Harris LCPC-C used to explain when she wrote, “So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.”

My mental illness got intense, and it tried to make me do things I know I am not supposed to do. I attempted to commit suicide. Note that “Not all people who have thoughts of suicide end up acting on those thoughts. But for those who do, generally there is deep emotional pain combined with a belief that things will never improve.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC said. And I consider myself part of that. I pretty much hate everything about life at that time. But then one particular moment, as I was in my room having thoughts on how to end my life, I heard a song. It was entitled “Welcome To My Life” by Simple Plan. The first few lines hit me hard, so I began listening to the whole song. The message was very devastating and relatable that I started crying. The song made me feel more helpless and unworthy. It made me realize that my life sucked. Due to the message it delivered to me, I listened to it again and again. I began to internalize and feel it more deeply. Of course, every line of it hurt my feelings over and over again. But it didn’t stop me because I felt happy emotionally hurting myself.

I Am Saved

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With all the frustrations I am having that moment, I suddenly came to reality. I noticed I no longer feel burdened by something. Is it because I cried my heart out? Well, it doesn’t matter. After one whole day of listening to that song, I realized one thing. My life should be in my control, and my mental illness shouldn’t mess with it. With that moment, I started listening to songs that are hurtful and damaging. And it is meaningful that it didn’t negatively affect me. Instead, listening to devastating music helped me understand the things I am going through with my life. It allows me to manage my emotions and work myself through emotional and mental healing. One thing I will never forget in this experience is to “Give yourself permission to do some serious emotional healing to become your happiest self and remember, it is a process more than a destination.” A reminder from Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD

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Can Music Influence Your Life?

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Honestly, there are no right words that can describe music’s influence in all aspects of people’s lives. All of them feel the same way where they cannot think of anything they have done that does not associate with any particular song. Regardless of whether the current mood is sad and worried, or happy and cheerful, some genres cater to its individuality. The music describes the different experiences people go through in their career path, family and friends, romantic relationship, social interaction, and inner-self battle.

How People See It

Most of the times, people relate to music because they use it as an escape to reality. But “While music has long been recognized as an effective form of therapy to provide an outlet for emotions, the notion of using song, sound frequencies and rhythm to treat physical ailments is a relatively new domain.” That is according to Daniel J. Levitin, PhD. That is where any time people are in a bad mood; they create a new circle around them that represents their current emotions. Music becomes their fortress in keeping themselves sane and aware. It brings back people to themselves whenever they tend to forget how to respond to the harshness of the world.

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For some, music is an outlet. It is a tool that allows people to express themselves in any way. It is their method of showing that even the emotional and mental states can become visible in some form. That is the reason why even if music often starts as an art; it usually ends as a tool for self-expression. It caters people’s need in telling others about their thoughts and ideas, as well as how they genuinely feel.

In some unfortunate cases, music is the people’s road to healing. “It is a healing process that allows people to not only start feeling better but gain insight, awareness, and ultimately begin trusting their intuition and experience.”  Dr. Mitch Keil, a clinical psychologist said. The creation and composition of its lyrics, rhythm, tempo, and beat significantly change people’s mindfulness. There are times that it takes individuals in a journey where a complete association of truth and reality collide. Music helps people see without looking and hear without listening.

Some individuals find music as a source of their energy booster. Music is their life’s turn-on button. These individuals cannot live and function without it. Some of these people listen to music anywhere and anytime. That includes when driving, taking a shower, exercising, doing household chores, and so on.

With all the different genres nowadays, people can have their favorite. There is mellow, rock, alternative, jazz, pop, instrumental, etc. Due to its broad category, it reaches and influences a lot of individuals. It makes them enjoy music even more. Because not only they get to learn things about their specific choice, they can also have a chance to understand other types of music as well.

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Another influence of music on people’s lives is its potential to bring them all together. Music has the power to create a single goal for every individual. It unites people. It allows understanding with the help of its clear message in its every lyric. People see it as an instrument of peace and harmony.

Every individual can agree that music impacts their lives. “Music has such a large impact on our lives! It crosses cultures, age groups and has an effect on everyone. It can make you smile, dance, sing, cry, instantly recall memories like they were yesterday and process emotion.”  Abigail Saneholtz, Psy.D said. Yes, it might be in different ways. Depending on the mood and situation, the music fits perfectly in every one of them.…

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The Focus Of Music

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In choosing the right music, you probably have tons of choices. There are a lot of people who prefer artists that deliver great lyrics and sound. Some prefer it instrumental and classical. Others want it alive and upbeat. And there are those people who seem to enjoy the loud ones. With all those differences in preferences, choosing yours should answer one specific question. Which songs make you smile?

Rhythm and sound have been part of our lives. That is even before we were born. That is the reason why most parents introduce music to their kids in early childhood years. Some people often hear it from somewhere too. It does not matter where we happen to know music because the only important thing is its significance in our development.

Music As An Essential Part Of Living

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Music can steer your emotional state just by listening to a specific type of it. As Abigail Saneholtz, Psy.D  explains further, “Many people listen to music because they identify with the song’s words and the strong emotions felt. Often people describe that listening to music has a therapeutic effect that impacts their overall mood.” However, its effects differ because different people prefer dissimilar types of music and react differently to a particular song. That is the reason why some find classical very relaxing, but others find it annoying. Needless to say, when you listen to music that you are not happy or interested to hear, it is not going to help you at all. It will not create an impact on your emotional and mental development. In some unfortunate cases, it might damage your overall balance without you noticing it. Therefore, it is better to say that you need to choose the type of music that you feel relaxed and happy.

It is essential to understand that the best way to use music as a mindfulness tool is through finding its psychological and emotional impact. There should be a focus on increasing your happiness. In line with that, there is no need to listen to what others prefer. You have to find the right genre that works for your emotional and mental satisfaction. Because if you don’t, and you insist on listening to the trending ones that don’t make you feel anything, music becomes useless. Not only it will not contribute anything to your holistic development, but it might become the source of your emotional imbalance.

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All music creates a significant impact on every individual’s lives. “It seems as though – I wouldn’t say music has special properties – but, it has the ability to distract or engage in ways that other stimuli don’t.” That is according to Neuropsychologist Daniel Levitin, PhD. However, not all music works the same for everybody. What makes others happy does not guarantee to give the same results to you. But what works well with everyone is music’s potential to heal mental conditions such as anxiety, stress, trauma, and depression. In whatever form, music has the power to change people’s mood and mental state. Aside from that, those individuals who also play music instruments experience above level overall benefits. That is because not only they get the emotional and mental benefits of music, they can also use their physical skills to create and learn one. These include playing guitar, piano, violin, and even drums.

There is no reason to hate music. “Music acts as a medium for processing emotions, trauma, and grief—but music can also be utilized as a regulating or calming agent for anxiety or for dysregulation.” Molly Warren, MM, LPMT, MT-BC  explains. So if you have time, listen to it and experience an overall sense of revival.…

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