Research has shown us that listening to music can boost our mental well-being and health in some interesting ways. And in all honesty, everyone knows just how amazing music can be at lifting your mood when you are sad and helping you relax or celebrate events. It’s an integral part of our lives from a very young age. Music can affect our personal style, our thoughts or principles. It can teach us something new and it can help us develop as healthy human beings. In this article, we will set out the top 10 benefits of listening to music in your life.
1. Affects Your Mood
When you listen to music that you enjoy, the brain releases chemicals that give you a boost in mood and regulates emotions.
Studies conducted at McGill University monitored levels of dopamine after participants listened to their favourite tunes. A PET scan showed that huge levels of dopamine were released which caused participants to feel happiness and excitement.
That’s why you are so happy when you play an upbeat song and you just have to start dancing.
2. Stress Reduction
Relaxing music, with a low tempo and pitch, is known to reduce stress and anxiety in both healthy people and those about to undergo medical procedures.
Music decreases cortisol levels in the body which reduces chronic stress. This is important because stress causes up to 60% of our illnesses. If people get involved and play the music, their immune system is given even more of a boost than if they had just listened!
In essence, any kind of music can be relaxing, depending on what you like. Sometimes upbeat music can be amazing for relaxation, sometimes it’s something more relaxed or sad. All in all, it can help you release all of your extra stress that you build up during the day.
3. Reduces Anxiety & Depression
Depression affects more than 350 million people around the world. Studies from Germany have shown that music can benefit people suffering with depression, but it does depend on the music. Classical music and meditative tracks lifted people’s moods, but heavy metal increased their depression. Maybe some upbeat music can be helpful too. Of course, most people are not excited to listen to this type of music when depressed, but finding just the right music to stimulate better feelings is a good idea.
4. Encourages You to Exercise
Music can improve aerobic exercise, increase performance and boost mental and physical stimulation. Runners who listen to fast or slow motivational music have been shown to complete the first 800 meters of their race faster than those who listened to relaxing music or without music at all.
We all know just how hyped up we get when listening to music – it can make us more productive in general, but it especially helps our exercise routines. Most people have more energy to run or work out when they have some music to listen to.
5. Pain Reduction
From studying patients recovering from surgery, it has been shown that listening to music before, during and after significantly reduced pain and increased overall satisfaction. Music therapy has also been shown by researchers in Philadelphia to reduce pain in cancer patients. Pain relief was improved more for classical pieces, meditative music or the patient’s favorite tunes.
Some of it may be due to the fact that it takes their mind off of their pain. All that matters is that when you listen to music it is successful at making you feel better.
6. Memory Improvement
People with Alzheimer’s have been able to recall lost memories and maintain mental abilities after listening to music. The repetitions in the melody help our brains to create patterns that enhance our memory.
Because music has an impact on so many different areas of the brain, it can stimulate pathways that may still be healthy.
Some people have also reported that they can use the lyrics of different songs to remember better. Of course, songs with lyrics may be better for learning math or similar subjects but instrumental songs are better at helping people learn subjects that require a lot of reading.
Related: 15 Tricks to Improve Your Memory
7. Makes You Sleep Better
One recent study showed that listening to classical music for 45 minutes before sleeping improved sleep significantly for students rather than those who listened to an audiobook or did not change their routine.
Of course, you probably want to listen to classical music or any type of music with a slow, relaxing tempo. It will help you get relaxed and sleepy.
8. Surgery Relaxation
As we have seen, listening to relaxing music can decrease anxiety. Research has shown that it is even more effective than Midazolam, an oral medication used to help patients feel sleepy before an operation. Listening to soothing music whilst resting after open heart surgery has also been shown to increase relaxation.
The University of Helsinki has shown that stroke patients who listened to their choice of music for two hours a day recovered more of their cognitive function than those who did not. Most of the music had lyrics, suggesting that the combination of words and music was the factor that boosted the patients’ recovery.
9. Takes Verbal Communication to the Next Level
A study in York University showed that a month of music lessons (including pitch, rhythm, voice and melody) had a significant improvement in verbal intelligence in over 90% of children between the age of 4 & 6. The researchers suggested that the training in music had a “transfer effect” which helped children to understand the words and explain the meaning of them.
10. Raises IQ
Music lessons have also been shown to predict a much higher IQ and academic performance in young children. 6-year-olds who participated in keyboard or singing lessons for 36 weeks had a greater growth in IQ than children who chose drama or had no lessons. This means that music can help your children as well in excelling in the future.
All in all, music benefits everyone, depending on what you need it for. The benefits range from stress reduction, memory improvement, better verbal communication, improved IQ to being able to sleep better
Most people already use music as their own therapy when they’ve had a bad day or when they need more energy. So, just continue enjoying music, especially now that you know all of its benefits.