The Impact of Music on Mind, Body, and Spirit

Eating disorders destroy not only the body, but the mind and spirit, too. When I was caught in the cycle of bingeing and restricting, I was prone to physical illness, had difficulty concentrating, and felt hopeless much of the time. Early in my recovery, my counselor helped me understand that eating disorders are about unexpressed and unprocessed emotions. As such, she suggested I create a playlist of music to help me express my feelings. I made one for anger (heavy metal), grief/loss (sappy love-gone-wrong songs), hope/peace (new age/instrumental), and happiness (songs that made me want to get up and dance).

Even now, I continue to be amazed by the impact that music has on my mood. In fact, a significant amount of research has been done on the capacity music has to lift our spirits, improve our minds, and even increase immune system functions. (Read some of the research by clicking here).

As I work through some mixed feelings of my own (sorrow, anger, resentment, relief, joy, and hope), I find myself drawn to certain songs. Sometimes it helps to listen to music that matches my mood so I can stay with the feeling and process it through. Other times, it’s too painful to do so. In that case, I choose a song that changes my mood.

Perhaps you, too, would benefit from creating an emotion-themed playlist. I invite you to take some time this week to pay attention (in a mindful, non-judgmental way) to how your mood is impacted by the music you’re listening to. What do you notice?

Peace, joy, and health,

Megan

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