Self-care Spotlight 004

By Ashley Barnes

This week, I thought a lot about the ways in which music helps calm me during times of stress, quickly realizing how listening to music can be deemed a form of self-care. Los Angeles residents may be familiar with the stressful traffic, people dangerously weaving in and out of it, and the bustle of people trying to get from point A to point B during a busy work day. In my commute to downtown, I became cognizant of the ways my environment was impacting me. Sometimes self-care is turning on music that boosts your confidence (some may think of hip hop or pop music), and other times, it sounds like “Clare de lune” by Claude Debussy (which was what I ended up choosing). Listening to music can help us feel empowered and ready for a big interview and it can calm us when we notice we are feeling stressed; music can enhance our celebratory moments and it can comfort us in times of heartbreak. Music holds a healing power in how it soothes us and makes us feel less alone. When lyrics are relatable, this kind of  universality helps us feel understood and connected to other people. Music can also be a spiritual or cultural experience, helping us connect to important parts of our identity, values, and beliefs. Favorite songs can bring back vivid memories and remind us of some of the happiest and impactful times in our lives. For those of us who create music, the artistic expression can be very cathartic. There is a reason why music is used therapeutically and in elderly homes as a way of boosting mood. At the Mental Health Center, we have even created special playlists for patients engaging in Ketamine Therapy to create the most comfortable environment during the treatment experience. Music brings us together, it is enhancing, and it is healing. I encourage you to mindfully listen to music and think about what it does for you in terms of your own self-care.