For many people, listening to music is an enjoyable pastime. Whether it’s in the car on a long drive, on an upbeat exercise playlist, or blasting through the speakers at a party, music adds a little extra color to the drudgeries of everyday life. But there’s mounting evidence that we shouldn’t take music for granted, or relegate the act of listening to music as nothing but a trivial hobby. Recent studies have proven that music can help people become self-aware and in tune with their feelings, as well as relate to and empathize with others. Moreover, taking time to listen to music may actually contribute significantly to a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
So if music is an essential part of your day, keep up the habits of looking for new musical artists, curating playlists, and sharing your favorite songs with your loved ones. Doing so may be healthy for you, as well as pleasurable. Here are six points that illustrate this argument.
It Can Alter Your Mood for the Better
Is your favorite music one of the first things you look for when you’ve had a bad day? Does listening to your favorite song do a lot to cheer you up when you’re feeling down? There’s a scientific explanation for why our moods improve when we listen to music. Doing so triggers the human brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, also called the “happy hormone.” When you’re looking for something to change up your mood for the better and motivate you to do your daily tasks, you can turn to music.
It Can Relieve Stress
You may have heard people say that stress is a killer, and given today’s brisk pace of life, perhaps you understand why. Stress can wreak significant physiological and psychological damage on the body, which includes high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and prolonged anxiety. It’s always good to find healthy outlets to mitigate stress and to calm your body down from this heightened state of vigilance. Music can be one such outlet, and an hour or so of listening to your favorite tunes can impart you with feelings of tranquility and mental focus.
It Can Improve Your Memory
Listening to music is also an intellectual activity, which means that it’s good for the brain. Studies on music and memory indicate that such an activity engages both the left and right hemispheres of the brain, thus priming it for more difficult cognitive functions. That’s no surprise, as your brain actually does a lot of computing when listening to a unique piece of music. For example, your brain perceives and makes connections using the mathematical distances between notes. It’s a pretty good explanation for why it boosts cognitive processes like memorization, and why it’s good to listen to music while studying (just so long as you aren’t distracted by the song lyrics).
It’s a Great Companion for Exercise
Music is also good for physical activities as well as intellectual ones. In fact, listening to music during your daily workout may increase your gains. Following a beat can help you keep track of your reps when you’re lifting weights, or coordinate your body’s movements while you’re dancing. Your favorite songs can also pump you up and supply you with a healthy adrenaline rush when you need it, for example when you’re sprinting or clocking off that last kilometer on your stationary bike.
It Contributes to Holistic Healing
Yet another health benefit that can be attributed to music is its potential to contribute to holistic healing, especially for trauma or serious illnesses like cancer and addiction. Music therapy can supplement counseling, medication, and treatment from health professionals in restoring a patient’s health and well-being. For example, someone who’s visiting a Tampa drug rehab center or similar facility may undergo music therapy and participate in musical interventions as part of their treatment plan. If you or one of your loved ones will have to undergo treatment for a serious condition, you can explore the cathartic power of music to aid in the healing process.
It Can Help You Feel Connected and In Touch with the World
Lastly, the healing and restorative qualities of music don’t extend only to you. If you share your favorite songs with your friends, family, or even like-minded strangers, you could make their day. Listening to music from your favorite artists, some of whom may be from far corners of the world, can also help you feel like you’re understood and that you’re a part of something greater than yourself. At a time that it’s easy to feel lonely and disconnected, having someone share their music with you—and in turn, sharing music with others—can help you stay mentally and emotionally healthy. Don’t be afraid to seek validation and comfort from your favorite music, and better yet, share those things with others.
Suffice to say, music can do a lot to nourish your mind, body, and soul. Both science and your own personal experiences demonstrate this. Draw strength from the songs that you love and relish the time you spend listening to music, knowing that it does a lot to improve your quality of life!