Music and Mental Health Benefits

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music1Listening to music is a relatively inexpensive, effective activity which can be used in everyday life to improve our mental wellbeing. Lively up beat music can lift the spirits and improve mood and sometimes encourage us to get moving! Similarly calm and soothing music can help us to relax and ease fear and anxiety. Studies suggest, listening to music releases a chemical in the brain that has a key role in affecting our mood.

Here are some of the psychological benefits of listening to music:

  • Helps improve mood and increase positive emotions
  • Encourages self-expression
  • Improves level of interest
  • Improves social interaction
  • Increases relaxation and reduces tension and anxiety
  • Improves self esteem

Studies also show that music promotes positive overall health and those that listen to music demonstrate:

  • A better night’s sleep
  • Diminished pain
  • Improved memory and recall
  • Increased ability to concentrate
  • Increased mobility and co-ordination

As mentioned above music is something that can be incorporated into your everyday life and is very versatile.  Music can be enjoyed:

  • On your own or in a crowd
  • While doing housework or in the shower
  • While out for a walk or in the car
  • At work or relaxing at home in the evening
  • Going to sleep or awakening
  • While moving/dancing or lying still
  • At home or outdoors

The possibilities for incorporating music into our everyday routines are endless and with the use of modern technology e.g. iPod, iPad, playlists, i tunes, Spotify etc. a wide variety of music and genres have become extremely easy to access. music2


Eating Well and Mental Wellbeing

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All this week, Pillar Kincardine have been telling us about issues important to them. Over the next couple of days, we look at how your diet and what you listen to can effect your mental health…



What does eating well mean? Broadly speaking it means eating in a way that:

  • Keeps our weight stable
  • Provides all the necessary food groups and vitamins
  • Is an enjoyable experience

Why is eating well important?

It helps to prevent many diseases which are linked with being overweight. Diseases include high blood sugar, high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, cancer, joint problems and sleep difficulties. Eating well also nourishes our brain so we feel better emotionally.

Eating is essential for sustaining our lives, keeping healthy and preventing disease but most of us struggle to eat what we need and battle with eating what we want and what makes us feel better emotionally.  We tend to eat if we are sad, lonely or hurt but equally if we want to celebrate success or as a reward. Attempting to change our eating habits is much more than just learning the facts it’s about making good choices every day which is easier said than done. Understanding why healthy eating is so important and looking at the benefits of certain foods helps on this journey. Read the rest of this entry »

The Benefits of Arts and Crafts

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art “Some of us feel bad about [taking] time for creative expression. One would  think that we’d view creativity as ‘more productive’ and hence less guilt-  producing than leisure, yet we still seem to believe that self-expression is  less of a priority than satisfying the needs of others.”  Alice Domar, Ph.D.

Unfortunately, many of us push crafting and creativity to the bottom of our To Do List. Maybe we feel guilty for doing something for ourselves—women, of course, are taught that everyone else’s needs should come first—or maybe we feel that even when we’re relaxing, we should be doing something productive.  All we need is permission from ourselves to spend time creating and the courage to push beyond our comfort zone so our projects truly express what’s inside and help us to unblock, purge, and transform our feelings.  Read the rest of this entry »

Mindfulness Meditation

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Continuing our focus on mental health, find out how Pillar are using mindfulness with great results.. breathe

Another way in which we have been practising mindfulness at Pillar is via meditation. We have discussed how meditation need not be associated with specific religious beliefs or entail difficult body postures. It need not take longer than five minutes and does not involve an ‘emptying’ of the mind, but rather an effort to take some control of our thoughts. Meditation has been shown to increase the grey matter associated with wellbeing and compassion, and decrease areas associated with stress. On a physical level, it has been shown to lower high blood pressure and lessen chronic pain. Read the rest of this entry »

Mindful Colouring

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Read on to discover how Pillar have used colouring in to enhance the lives of many…

mindful colouring

“Mindfulness” is a bit of a buzzword in mental health nowadays, but is in fact rooted in the ancient traditions of Buddhism. Tried and tested for centuries, the art of mindfulness encourages us to slow down and focus on the present moment. It urges us not to worry about a past that cannot be changed and a future that will not be improved by present anxiety. Experiencing all that the present moment has to offer is, from this point of view, truly living, and will have numerous benefits for both our physical and our mental health. ReachOut.com lists these benefits as including less anxiety, better problem solving and sleep and greater happiness overall. Read the rest of this entry »