For thousands of years, music has been used for healing, both informally and in medical contexts. Mothers sing their colicky babies to sleep with music; we attend concerts and other musical events for pure enjoyment; and people who are stressed turn to their favorite songs for relaxation.

Music helped me through many rough patches, so it was natural for me to focus on music as a tool for healing. I cannot imagine a wedding, funeral, festival, mixer, or a church service without music. I have witnessed music help individuals bounce back after experiencing losing their homes, family members, and churches.

B.B. King said, “even in your darkest moments, the music is a rope to grab onto, something to pull you through.” This quote reinforced that whatever I experienced, music was a resource for me.

It felt like my world had come to an end when I lost my mother in 2019. I did not know how to navigate through life without her. Music played a huge role in my loss:
• It provided a safe space to feel the emotions of my loss
• It gave me a way to express my big emotions
• It calmed my body and mind
• It helped me to honor the memory of my mother
Music is the place I can go to when the world is caving in on me. It is the place that I can escape to when I do not have the answers. During the pandemic, music was the safe space I visited daily. The term safe space refers to places "intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations" (

My musical preference was according to my mood and what was going on that day. There were days when I felt determined. On those days, the lyrics from the song “I Will Survive” spoke to me. There were times when I felt defeated. The McFadden & Whitehead song, “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” picked me up. The following lyrics were the most powerful:
And if you've ever been held down before
I know you'll refuse to be held down anymore!
Don't you let nothing, nothing
Stand in your way!

The most impactful art workshop I participated in at the AWBW Facilitator Training was Creating a Safe/Brave Place. In the workshop, I created my RARE JEWEL colorful artwork that speaks to the different genres of music which allow my safe space to occur. The creative process allowed me to be vulnerable and safe at the same time. The colors in my art represent different emotions I have experienced, from my challenges to my successes. Sometimes when I experience emotional exhaustion, this activity made me feel safe to feel all of the emotions that arise and know that I'm okay. It helped me embrace the little girl inside me, the one who was hurt, let her cry and know that it is okay to do so. I was able to look at the full experience of my life. The RARE JEWELS represent who I am.

Ever since that experience, I make little dots of color to process how I am feeling on any given day. When I feel sick, that is a blue dot day. When it is a bright sunshiny day, I make a yellow dot. It gives me a safe way to express myself, and to remind me that it is okay to feel how I feel.

Now I think of art in a different way. Art helps me to remove the shackles and barriers that made me feel insufficient and insecure. Art helps me to face challenges as life beats up on me and feel comfortable in my safe zone.

Music has helped me become my personal best — it has helped me to:
• Improve my quality of life.
• Increase my productivity.
• Address losses and failures.
• Regulate my emotions (especially during challenging times).
• Give voice to situations.
• Re-discover my joy.
Life can sideswipe us. We go about our day, and something stops us in our tracks, like the mass shootings that took place in January 2023. The shooting on Chinese New Year paralyzed me with pain. Sitting still and listening to meditation music helped me rediscover joy during community loss. Music helped calm my feelings of anxiety. It provided a musical massage and massaged my heart and mind. This allowed me to address the failures of society failing to love each other and reconnect to a sense of hope.
Then I got knocked down by the killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. The way his life was taken was painful and heartbreaking. I listened to the song “Healing” by Kelly Price to process my pain. The lyrics gave voice to this situation. It brought me through it. It helped to soothe my soul. I did not have to smoke, go retail shopping or drink - music rescued me and soothed my mind and soul. I have a playlist of music in my mind I can call upon to soothe me in this unpredictable world.
Research supports the power of music:
• “Music with a strong beat can stimulate brain waves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state.” (
• “Music can also play a role in helping individuals and communities to cope with trauma, whether it be through the intervention of music therapists, community music making programs or individual music listening (”
• “Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory”
• “Music therapy is beneficial for various mental health conditions, including depression, trauma, and schizophrenia. Music acts as a medium for processing emotions, trauma, and grief, but music can also be utilized as a regulating or calming agent for anxiety or mood dysregulation.” (

Music and all forms of artistic expression are universal languages that permeates our lives and wallpapers our consciousness. There is no doubt music is my safe place time and time again. I am a cheerleader for making art and listening to music to create safe places. It is a great way to manage your mind, mood, and emotions. Music and creative expression allowed me to move forward with a smile.

Author's Bio: 

• Dr. Sonara, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi is a Recording Artist, author, credentialed teacher, Consultant, Toastmasters Silver and the owner of SCB Consulting, a training and development company which focuses on personal wellness.

• She has a BS, MS and a PhD degree in Psychology in 2014 and conducted interviews on the Katrina survivors for her doctoral research.

• She served as advisor for the local AFSCFME Union President for the past 2 years.

• Dr. Sonara created a National Healing Music Project which was sent to the Obama Administration.

• Dr. Sonara’s published articles can be seen on the Self-growth platform.

• Dr. Sonara is working on a book titled, “the Healing Power of Music”.

• She speaks at conventions, conferences, government trainings, small groups and is fulfilled by empowering individuals to use Holistic Strategies for wellness. (You can book Dr. Sonara for your event at (310) 987-1370 or

• She lives by the philosophy, “the more we invest in the lives of others, the less we will be required to pay later”.