Monday, March 6, 2017

Using Music To Help With Grief

When you're happy, you enjoy the music. But, when you're sad, you understand the lyrics.  ~ Frank Ocean

People have known for centuries that music touches the human soul. We know intuitively that music affects us in profound and healing ways, both emotionally and physically, and present-day research demonstrates this to be true. In health care settings such as hospitals, clinics and hospices, music therapy is found to be remarkably effective in helping to calm patients, reduce stress, ease muscle tension, promote movement and manage pain.
". . .one of the most beautiful gifts that humans have brought to the earth is music. In great music, the ancient longing of the earth finds a voice . . . Music ministers to the silence and solitude of nature; it is one of the most powerful, immediate, and intimate of sensuous experiences. Music is, perhaps, the art form that brings us closest to the eternal because it changes immediately and irreversibly the way we experience time. When we are listening to beautiful music, we enter into the eternal dimension of time. Transitory, broken linear time fades away, and we come into the circle of belonging within the eternal. The Irish writer Sean O’Faolain said, “In the presence of great music we have no alternative but to live nobly." ~ John O’Donohue, in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, pp. 72-73
When we are struggling with grief, music can lift us up, take us out of our current mood, and transport us to another time and place. When we cannot find the words, a particular song may express our thoughts and feelings even better than we are able to do. Whether with lyrics or without, music can be used as an escape or a respite from our pain, or as a form of relaxation or meditation while we confront our sorrow. Music helps us to remember the one who died, and it can help to bring a sense of balance, peace and harmony back into our lives, even if only for a moment.

In his informative article, What Is Our Phoenix Song: Using Music to Heal Our Grief, Bereavement Services Manager Vince Corso writes: “No matter your preference for style or composer, music can lend itself to healing the pain of grief. I encourage you to connect with music that can offer you solace and bring you to a place of healing and remembrance.” His article includes many creative ways you can use music in your own grief journey.

The following message was posted by one of our members in the Behaviors in Bereavement Forum on our Grief Healing Discussion Groups website:

". . . I have been listening to music that makes me both happy and sad, because it reminds me of my dad. Some of the lyrics make me cry, and some make me smile. I should probably only share the happy stuff, but no, this site also acknowledges the sad feelings, I feel. So, I don’t mean to make everyone sad, but I wanted to share a song: Enya -- If I Could Be Where You Are."

Since this post first appeared, several other members have added links to a number of beautiful songs whose lyrics have touched them in some meaningful way. (Due to copyright claims, you may find that, when you click on the links included below, some of the videos no longer appear on YouTube. If that is the case, try typing the title of the song and the artist into YouTube’s search engine to see if another rendition of the song comes up for you.)

If you’ve found a special song that soothes you or helps you remember your loved one, you are invited to add it to our list in the Comments section below.     
Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.
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Related:
  • Music for a Grieving Heart ~ Grief Healing's Pinterest Board
  • Music That Soothes Me from Members of our Grief Healing Discussion Groups
  • Unlocking The Mind With Music
  • Alive Inside ~ "a joyous cinematic exploration of music's capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music."
© by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC

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