Myth Busting 101

Myth Busting 101

When teaching my course on using music for your mental health, I found that there were a number of myths out there around music AND around mental health.  I’m going to share a few of these along the way on the blog here, because myths are powerful because people don’t realize what’s fact from fiction, and they hold myths as ‘the truth.’ This can be the difference between someone getting the right advice and the wrong advice during times of struggle, because many of us have been just served bad information from our culture.  

The following two myths were discussed inside the context of how important it is for each of us to ‘open up,’ and ‘express our emotions.’ The problem lies in what we think ‘opening up’ and ‘expressing our emotions’ means. We’re going to take them on one at a time.

Myth #1 – You have to TALK about your feelings

It’s really been promoted in clinical settings over the last several decades that you HAVE to ‘talk it out’ when it comes to your emotions. That works for some people in some situations but it may not work for all.  When it comes to trauma, talk therapy is a tool but often does not get to the root. At some point, the brain can stop processing in an analytical way. So, the body needs a way to move the trauma out of the body. In lesser intense situations that involve stress, the problem with words is you 1) need the right words and 2) need the right listener.  Fail to have either, and you can’t just talk it out. The beauty of music making is it allows you to get those emotions (energy in motion) out of your body without having to verbally emit them. NO words, NO listener.


Myth #2 – Physical symptoms and emotional stress and trauma are unrelated

There is no difference in the perception of pain by the brain. Whether it is physical, emotional, social, or spiritual, it is all processed in the brain in the same way. Sometimes, there may be a structural reason for pain, but often times, it is stress induced or trauma based.  A ton of research has gone into validating this, and in our western culture, we’re just barely coming to grips with the fact that physical symptoms may not have a physical cause. Read Harvard Medical School Professor and Researcher Dr. Herber Benson’s book, “Relaxation Revolution” for the proof, and in the meantime, consider that your mental stress and your physical pain might just be two sides of the same coin.  Using music as a tool for stress release is crucial, because as you relax the mind, you relax the body, and vice versa. You can use music in either instance, and find the relief you need.  

Tune in next time for the single easiest and fastest way to endure your family over the holidays without reaching for that extra glass of wine!

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