The benefits of listening to music
Music. It’s something that connects almost everybody due to its ability to be made and listened to in so many different ways. Whether you’re an avid music listener and could name your top five artists in a split second or you are someone who just enjoys having it in the background while you do homework, music is what could be considered a universal language. Its variety of sounds, lyrics, and ideas is something that can cater to anyone no matter their preferences. Music allows you to access a part of your brain that you wouldn’t without the help of some melodic sound waves made using instruments and vocals.
Music quite literally exercises your brain because it has such a unique way of stimulating different parts of your brain. Along with giving your upstairs a workout, there is a long list of all the ways that music can truly benefit you, but here are just a few to hopefully convert any non-music lovers.
Reduces stress and anxiety
According to Western Music Therapy, when you listen to music, your level of the stress hormone cortisol decreases leading to less stress. Healthline also supports this argument with a summary of multiple studies showing that when music is listened to, people feel calmer and the symptoms of anxiety start to dissipate. It has been proven that listening to music blended with nature sounds help people, even those facing critical illness, feel less anxious. From personal experience, I can tell you that throwing on either relaxing music or simply some of your favorite jams will definitely give you that escape from what’s going on in your head.
In an article by NorthShore University Health System, it’s explained that although there is no cure for memory-related illnesses, music therapy has been shown to reduce some of the effects. According to Western Music Therapy, a study with healthy older adults found that those who had ten or more years of musical experience scored higher on cognitive tests than those with one to nine years, and the lowest scores belonged to non-musicians.
Another example of music aiding in memory is a non-profit organization called Music & Memory helping those who struggle with Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementias to remember who they are along with different memories related to music by playing songs that hold some type of meaning in their past. They’ve had patients who couldn’t speak begin singing along with tunes that held some kind of importance to their past not missing a word, or even remembering the events that took place as they listened to these songs throughout their lives.
Eases and manages pain
Through a study done by Drexel University in Philadelphia, it was found that “music therapy and pre-recorded music rescued pain more than standard treatments in cancer patients.” They also explained that in order for the music therapy to work, they had to use classical pieces, meditative music, or songs chosen by each specific patient.
In relation to the point on music reducing stress levels, this reduced stress along with music being a strong competitor against pain signals entering your brain allows music to assist in pain management.
Have you ever turned on some of your favorite music and immediately had some extra pep in your step? Well, it’s scientifically proven that listening to music you enjoy, classical music, or even meditative sounds can decrease symptoms of depression and overall improve your mood and mindset. While listening to these kinds of music, your body releases an increased amount of the chemical dopamine, also known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Also, when you listen to music while driving, you are more likely to make safer decisions due to enhanced mood. All this said, if you’re ever feeling down, take 15 minutes to listen to your favorite music, and all will be right in the world again.
Aids in heart health
An article written by NorthShore University Health System states, “Research has shown that blood flows more easily when music is played.” The impact a healthy heart has on the rest of your body is a lot bigger than you realize because once your blood flow increases, you experience less stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and an increase in serotonin and endorphin levels in the blood.
Improves sleep quality
A study showed that students who listened to relaxing classical music for at least 45 minutes before they went to bed slept exceptionally better than those who listened to either an audiobook or nothing. In this case, putting on your favorite pop rock band will probably not lull you to sleep, but there’s nothing wrong with some Mozart or Bach. I know I’ll definitely be giving it a try.
Strengthens your brain and learning abilities
After reading this, you might want to try listening to music while you study because researchers have discovered that music can not only help you learn but also recall information depending on how much you like the music and whether you are or aren’t a musician. Those who are musicians study better with neutral music but test better with music they enjoyed while non-musicians studied better with the music of their choice and tested better with neutral music. Go ahead and use this to your advantage.
Research also shows that taking music lessons can raise your IQ and overall academic performance. In a study done on 6-year-olds, it was found that those who took either keyboard or singing lessons performed better on standardized education tests with those who participated in singing lessons getting the highest scores.
Music is such a gift, and we should all take advantage of what could quite literally change the course of our lives even if it might just be having more good days than bad. With all the research and evidence I’ve provided, I’m really hoping you will give a few of these ideas a try and maybe you’ll see improvement in some area of your life even if it’s small.