We all go through trying times in our lives, and when things seem most dark, all humans seem to find light in the same places. One of these places is in music. No matter what you’re struggling with, no matter what ails you in the course of your life, you’ve likely had occasion to discover that a powerful piece of music can break through your pain and set you back on the road to recovery.

power of muic

In looking for songs for healing and hope, it can be helpful to know what it is about a given piece of music that speaks to us so powerfully and encourages our spirits to lift. Let’s explore the qualities that give songs their power.

The Power of Lyrics

Of course, all kinds of song lyrics can be considered great, and for all kinds of reasons. But in this case, we’re looking at music that helps us recover from sadness, trauma, grief, and pain. In other words, we’re looking for happy and uplifting music. So what makes for a good set of lyrics?

  • Rhyme. Deviating from rhyme can be a good tool in songwriting, but it makes the song feel uneasy and uncertain. For positivity and happiness, rhyme is essential.
  • Clarity. You shouldn’t have to work hard to understand what’s being said. A reassuring song will speak to you like a lullaby or a pep talk from a friend, not like a professor giving a lecture.
  • Evocativeness. It’s always best if the song speaks to you personally, addressing the issue with which you’re grappling. This can help you remember that you’re not alone.

The Power of Instrumentals

Although the words of songs reach out and touch our hearts, many people are surprised by just how much the instrumentals move them too. If you’ve ever been brought to tears by a piece of music, you’re familiar with this concept, and with how hard it can be to explain. What is it about a song that weighs on our souls?

  • Major or minor key. Songs in a minor key have a tendency to sound sad, whereas songs written in a major key have the power to boost your spirits.
  • Key changes. Small surprises in music release dopamine and give your brain a pleasant little jolt of happiness.
  • Tempo. Music with a quick tempo can cause listeners to subconsciously breathe faster and increase their heart rates, physical symptoms also associated with happiness. In other words, an upbeat song can trick your body into thinking you’re feeling better, even if you’re not yet.

Finally, and perhaps most important, don’t ever underestimate the importance of making an effort. By listening to music—going on a search for spiritual healing music and making time to play it—you’re actively engaging in your own recovery process, which is one of the most positive and productive things you can do.

This guest post was written by Kat Helgeson. She comes from a ten-year career in social media marketing and content creation. She takes pride in her ability to communicate the culture and values of an organization via the written word. Kat is also the author of numerous books for young adults. Her titles have received the Junior Library Guild Award, the Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year Distinction, and been featured on the Illinois Reads selection list. Her work has been translated into Dutch and German.