the future

How Music Can Improve the Mental Health of Children?

Although many parents believe that music such as hardcore rap, metal, or music with explicit words are poorly affecting their children, in reality, the music that children listen can benefit their lifestyle and the decisions they make. As a matter of fact, music is used in therapy for people who are diagnosed with depression or extreme anxiety, such as “hip-hop therapy”. The image of rap culture has changed over the years from someone wearing saggy clothing and big chains, to rappers riding in fancy cars and living the high life. But what most people don’t know is that this type of fancy lifestyle can actually have a positive, socially beneficial effect. This is a theory put forward by Cambridge University’s Department of Psychology, who says that mobile rap can actually benefit those experiencing mental health issues. The main factor that rap has to offer is being able to express yourself freely. Nowadays more artists are expressing modern world problems through their lyrics which allows children to become more aware of issues relating to them or others. For example, Nicki Minaj’s song “Pills N Potions” talks about relationships and being taken for granted in her lyrics, “People'll love you and support you when it's beneficial, I'ma forgive, I won't forget, but I'ma dead the issue…They see you doin' good, now it's kinda hard to diss you…” Even though many young adults overlook lyrics and just listen to music, if they actually listened to the words, children could learn about many problems such as relationships in this case. Overall, the negative perception of hip-hop has been everlasting and should be viewed differently because of the beneficial effects it has posed on many children. Through thick and thin, music has always proved to be a comfort zone away from reality where you can put in your earphones and forget the world around you to unwind.


How Reading Can Improve The Mental Health of Young Adults

I remember when in elementary school, it was mandatory to read a book every month and have it written down in a reading log that had to be signed by your parents. Or even in middle school, when teachers required students to read books over the summer and write a book report on it. Nowadays, I don’t believe reading is as enforced as it used to be. Many people don’t realize the benefits of reading such as, improving empathy and creativity, and even staving dementia. Keith Oakley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto explains that, “The most important characteristic of being human is that our lives are social. Fiction can augment and help us understand our social experience.” A study done on reading literary fiction has shown that it increases the ability to feel empathy for others. This can improve a child’s social life and enable them to be able to communicate with others in the future. Another study outlined by Psychology Today, being a devoted reader throughout life and continuing into old age can reduce memory decline by more than 30%. The Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation lists reading, brain aerobics, and mind games as methods to maintain the brain. By engaging children in reading a variety of books such as fiction, non-fiction, and even comics, the child’s brain is continuously being exercised and benefitting them in the long run. Everything considered, reading throughout your lifetime, whether it is a two-page article or an autobiography, will prove to be useful for your mental health in preventing dementia and improving empathy and creativity.


How Physical Activity can Improve the Mental Health of Children

Before iPads and iPhones were made, kids played on monkey bars and swing sets at the playground. They ran around playing hide-and-seek and yelled, “Marco! Polo!” across a field. Nowadays, you see kids passing slides and merry-go-rounds to go play Fortnite or watch shows on their smart devices. Some may argue that not doing physical activity does not mean it is detrimental to a child’s health, but Richard Louv, an author who helps families and children connect to nature, would say otherwise. As mentioned in his book Lost Child In The Woods, he indicates that disorders such as ADHD, obesity, depression, and anxiety can be caused from not getting enough activity outside. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Obesity prevalence was 18.5% among children and adolescents ages 2-19 years…” Because of the lack of physical activity in children’s lives, obesity is becoming a common problem which usually leads to other diagnoses such as depression and anxiety. Although many parents have noticed that their kids do not play outside as much as they did, no one is doing anything to change it. Luckily, there have been many organizations and groups that advocate for such problems and work with many different cities to implement more outdoor activities like building more parks, holding community events, and engaging neighborhoods into participating in such activities. With more support, more children will go out and enjoy nature without even thinking about playing on an iPad ever again.


How Pets Can Improve the Mental Health of Children

Although many parents think of pets as having another responsibility and a liability to take care, many children think of their pets as their best friends or a companion who is always by them when they need them the most. Studies have shown that pets can reduce anxiety, stress, depression, loneliness, and can encourage their pet owners to become more active and outgoing. Not only do animals help youths with common diagnoses, but they can also help patients with cardiovascular diseases. A study done by Kathie M. Cole, a clinical nurse III at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, showed that a dogs’ effects on patients with heart complications reduced anxiety scores by 24 percent. These results show that the simple act of being exposed to an animal and interacting with it automatically calms a person’s heart rate and mind down. Along with providing relaxation, animals can increase mental stimulation, act as a gateway for patients who need therapy, and can help youths with autism. Youths who are introduced to pet therapy are shown to improve on their mental health because of animals that help break the ice between the therapist and the patient. Animals reduce the resistance to questions that may seem uncomfortable to answer when alone with a therapist, or in a patient’s eyes, a stranger. By allowing children to have a pet to take care of, they gain a sense of responsibility and are able to be comforted by a companion to solve problems such as depression, loneliness, anxiety, and more.


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