What happens when you turn on the jukebox and blare your favourite tunes?
You begin to think of happy thoughts, and your body grooves to the beat while you feel the stress seep out of your body. Music evokes strong emotions from us and has the power to make us smile, laugh, cry or dance.
But is listening to music good for your health?
Researchers from Johns Hopkins have suggested that listening to music is the equivalent of a brain workout with variegated benefits. From releasing the happy hormone dopamine to reducing pain and anxiety, listening to music has therapeutic and stimulating effects on the brain and, consequently, our overall health.
The Music-Brain Connection
A bit of magic takes place in the brain when you listen to music – the vibrations made by the sound source travel through the air and up your ear canal. In your ear, they hit your eardrum, making that tissue vibrate. From there, the auditory nerves carry the signals to the brain stem, where they are assembled into something that we perceive as music.
We still do not fully understand how we can hear and differentiate between tones, tunes, and rhythm, but we do!
However, when you listen to music, many subtle things occur simultaneously. Firstly, the brain releases dopamine and induces a feeling of euphoria.
Next, listening to music boosts blood flow, lowers stress-related hormones like cortisol, and finally eases pain. Further, listening to music before surgery can yield better outcomes; the recovery rate is supposedly more substantial.
Music activates certain parts of the brain responsible for releasing chemicals useful to maintain a healthy brain and body.
Benefits of Listening to Music
There have been plenty of studies undertaken to prove that music positively impacts health. Here are some of the most common benefits of music.
- Music visibly improves mood. The next time you find yourself down in the dumps or stricken by the angsty reds, it’s time to turn up the music and play a lot of feel-good songs that can perceptibly boost your mood. Studies say that music can regulate your mood and create a happy and relaxed environment, so check out some of those feel-good songs that can turn a frown upside down!
- Music also is a strong contender to reduce stress. Listening to relaxing music with no lyrics and a slow tempo with a low pitch can reduce stress and anxious feelings in those awaiting surgeries.
- One of the music benefits is that it reduces anxiety in listeners. A study conducted on cancer patients showed that those who received music therapy experienced better health improvements than those who did not.
- Listening to music can also improve learning. So, the next time your teenager plugs his/her ears in during study time, do not scold. Just make sure they are listening to music without any lyrics since this is what boosts mental activity.
- A study was undertaken to understand the advantages of music on memory. Candidates were asked to memorize a list of words while classical music played in the background. As opposed to having no music playing, the ones who listened to classical music memorized faster. This study promotes the mental benefits of listening to music.
- One of the health benefits of music is that it releases many happy hormones that visibly change your brain’s mental pattern. For example, listening to music releases dopamine associated with happiness, serotonin, and other hormones that boost immunityâ€”lastly, oxytocin, a chemical that gives us the ability to connect with others.
- Music makes you want to dance. That is one activity that makes your heart pump at a faster rate and alters your breathing. So indirectly, dancing to music helps your physical health.
How to Engage with Music?
If music is not a part of your life, try to engage with it in a wholesome manner.
You can make it a part of your routine while you go about your day-to-day activities. Here are some ways in which you can include music into your life.
- Put on some music early in the morning when you start your day and have to exercise or meditate or do yoga.
- Play some soothing music on the way to work.
- Listen to classical pieces while you take a break at work.
- Talk to your social group about their music preferences.
- Incorporate music into your nightly routine.
- Attend a concert of your favourite music artist.
With so many benefits of spending an hour lost in the highs and lows evoked by music, take time to make it a part of your life.