My name is Matt, and I have been struggling with anxiety and depression my whole life. I’ve made great progress throughout the years and can live a stable and happy life now.
Many things helped me, including therapy, people, and medication. Still, today I want to focus on a less mainstream method of dealing with those disorders hinted above: therapeutic music as a tool for relaxation.
You see, I am a musician myself, and music plays a huge part in my life. I went to music school as a kid and studied classical piano and theory. After that, I graduated from college, majoring in film music and audio engineering. I always liked to listen to music, but I also loved to compose and create myself.
During my darkest times (without yet knowing the power of relaxation), I remember browsing YouTube and stumbling upon videos featuring relaxing music, and I was instantly hooked. Every time I was getting worse, I would lay down, put my headphones on, and try to relax to that music, and it was amazing what that has done to me.
Later I discovered the study of over-dreaming and breaking the circle of worry, and everything made sense.
The only problem I encountered during that time was that not all of that music had the same effect. There was only a handful of videos geared specifically to help relieve anxiety and/or depression symptoms.
There is an abundance of relaxing music on YouTube, but almost all of it tries to be a jack of all trades.
Let me explain. If you search for the term “relaxing music,” you will see titles like “relaxing music for anxiety, sleep, yoga, focus,” etc., and that is the problem – something that is created for sleep or focus won’t necessarily work for a panic attack.
Music composition that tries to relieve anxiety needs to be tailored to anxiety, music to help you sleep needs to be tailored to sleep, etc. Doing a mishmash won’t work because it uses too much or too little of specific stimuli (melody, frequency tempo, key, etc.) that work for one thing but not the other.
To simplify that even more, think If we would only have one music genre – that would be devastating. Different genres and music forms evoke different emotions and thoughts and put us in different states of mind – and going deeper now – different sounds, instruments, melodies, harmonies, etc. have a different effect on our brain.
Having said that, one needs to look for music that is specifically geared toward panic attack relief or prevention.
Being a musician with a professional background, I quickly discovered what elements work for a given condition. After exploring the world of relaxing music for a while, I promised myself that once I get better, I will start composing therapeutic music myself to help other people struggling with those terrible disorders that can steal everything from you.
I suffered enough myself and thought that if my music can help somebody, then was worth my time and effort to create something.
After I really got better, I kind of forgot about that idea. I got a new great job and picked up mountain biking again. One day doing some spring cleaning inside my laptop, I found my old folder named “D” (depression) in which I stored all of the helpful resources, including music therapy research, and the idea of creating therapeutic music came back to me again, and I decided that it is time to do something about it and after a while there I was Infront of my audio workstation with a trusty piano on the side diving into the depths of a plethora of musical resources I gathered throughout the years and started putting things together – testing and improving, experimenting and confirming or getting rid of faulty elements.
After I established a good workflow, I looked at YouTube again, created a profile, and uploaded my first composition. And The Gateway Productions was born – first (to the best of my knowledge) YouTube channel with therapeutic music geared specifically towards anxiety and depression.