Music means an escape! An escape from stress, depression, and sadness. When we listen to the music we love, the brain releases a chemical messenger called Dopamine, that plays an important role in giving us pleasure. Dopamine also gives us power to think, plan, focus and helps us strive. For many people, music can be a therapy because it helps fight depression and heal trauma. This is because music reduces the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and helps decrease stress levels. Listening to music increases blood flow to the brain regions that generate and control emotions. Music evokes powerful emotional responses that can easily alter mood and give pleasure.
Music plays an important role in improving mental health. It has beneficial effects on brain chemicals such as Dopamine which is linked to feelings of pleasure, and Oxytocin which is linked to the feeling of love. Music makes you feel more optimistic and positive about life by making your mind clear and relaxing your muscles, thereby making you feel soothed and relaxed, thus the stress of the day. Research has proved that music supports our physical, emotional, and mental health. Therefore, it can improve our mood, enhance productivity and concentration, thereby helping us sleep better.
How is Music Connected to your Brain?
The brain controls and processes all our human senses. It is very important that we keep our brain active by stimulating it as we grow older. Listening to music is one of the fun activities that has a positive impact on brain health. Music boosts your overall well-being. The power of music is truly amazing. Let us now look at some of the wonderful effects of music on the brain to keep it young and healthy.
1. Music Pumps up your Mood:
Music has the ability to affect your emotions massively. Listening to music lowers the production of stress hormone called Cortisol and increases the release of healthy doses of Dopamine and Serotonin which help elevate your mood. Amygdala is the part of the brain that is responsible for processing music and is also the center of our mood and emotions. Listening to upbeat and happy music evokes a feeling of joy and helps regulate your brain. Calming and relaxing music relaxes your mind and body thus helping you maintain greater mental and emotional balance. Listen to this calming music - A Moment of Peace Meditation
2. Music Activates your Brain Networks:
Only music has the unique ability to activate almost all regions of your brain. It strengthens the network of brain that are involved in learning, well-being, cognitive function, and happiness. Music lifts your mood, gives you energy, and makes you happy. Music calms your network system and eases stress by influencing your biological processes. It can automatically slow down or speed up your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing depending on the type of music you are listening to. Even if you’re feeling anxious, listening to a relaxed song. It will help moderate your body's function to bring down your anxiousness.
3. Music Acts as a Painkiller:
Music helps in pain reduction by inducing a healing effect. We all are touched by music and everyone loves music. Music tends to reduce the impact of sadness and alleviate pain. Music provides meaningful intellectual and emotional engagement by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways stimulating emotional responses and thus reducing pain. Music serves as a natural healer and has positive effects on symptoms of stroke and Dementia. Listening to music improves mood, helps retrieve old memories and effectively relieves pain.
4. Music Increases Endurance and Performance:
Motivational music has been proved to increase heart rate and blood flow, thereby improving performance. For example, listening to stimulating music gives you enthusiasm during a workout thus boosting your physical endurance and performance by reducing perceived effort and promoting metabolic efficiency. When you listen to music, you will be able to run farther, exercise faster and bike longer without realizing the effort needed to do it.
5. Music Evokes Memories:
Music has the ability to help you recall memories. When you listen to a particular song repeatedly, it creates association in your brain with the emotions that you experience while listening to that music. So, when you replay that music from years ago, you can immediately recall the emotions and feelings that you had experienced at that time. Music helps recall positive experiences and memories. Music has also been helpful for people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease because it evokes memories and awakens the parts of the brain.
6. Music Can Reduce Medical Anxiety:
If you are feeling stressed about an upcoming medical procedure or operation, all you need to do is to listen to music to get yourself calmed down. If you feel worried about the medical procedures, just start listening to your favourite music. This can ease anticipatory anxiety before the medical procedure. Listening to music in these scary situations distracts your mind and provides a positive power that can improve your medical outcome.
7. Music has been Proved to Aid in Brain Seizure, Injury, or Stroke:
It has been reported that people with Epilepsy synchronize before a seizure. But it has been observed that patients with Epilepsy synchronized to the music without having a seizure. Music makes these patients feel relaxed. Patients who are affected with strokes show improvement in recovery when they start listening to music soon after the stroke. Their verbal memory improves when they are given music therapy. Music based treatment called Melodic Intonation Therapy is also developed to help stroke survivors to be able to communicate again. This therapy is based on converting singing into speech.
8. Music Provides Meaning to Life:
Music is so powerful that it does magic by helping the listener understand the meaning of the world that we are living in. Music has always been significant in a human being’s life because music is a source of enjoyment, music creates emotional response, and music helps us forget all our sorrows and indulge in joy. Music engages our emotions and intersects our lives. Most of us listen to music for entertainment and it adds meaning to life by boosting our overall well-being.
9. Music Boosts up your Immune System:
We already know that stress hormones can have a negative impact on our immunity. This is why we often tend to fall sick when we are occupied with stress. We also know that listening to music is beneficial in helping relieve stress and inducing the production of happy hormones that provide relaxation. Music helps manage your stress levels by regulating your hormones. This helps boost up your immune system thereby helping your immune system to function at an optimal level. Music also improves the production of ‘Immunoglobulin A’ which is a biomarker that plays an important role in increasing immunity.
10. Music Improves your Sleep Quality:
Music has a great relaxing power. If you have trouble falling asleep or are suffering with Insomnia, it is high time for you to realize that you need to listen to some relaxing music while you try to fall asleep in bed. Listening to classical music before going to bed helps people sleep better. There is music that is especially designed to provide deep relaxation using specific frequencies and binaural beats. Therefore, music is a part of sleep hygiene routine. When you inculcate the habit of listening to relaxing music while sleeping, you tend to forget all the stress during the day and fall asleep steadily and peacefully.
Whom Can Music Therapy Benefit?
1. Music therapy benefits victims of trauma and crisis who suffer from anxiety, stress, and pain. Music therapy decreases anxiety, stress, and pain and improves mood thereby making the patient feel more confident.
2. Music is helpful in treating people with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). ASD is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD often experience problems with social communication and interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviours or interests.
3. Music Therapy is beneficial for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Music therapy may help with evoking memory and stimulate the patient’s mind because of predictability, familiarity and feelings of security.
4. Music therapy heals people with physical ailments such as chronic pain, diabetes, cardiac conditions, cancer, headaches, surgeries, and people in rehabilitation centres.
5. Music is beneficial for people suffering from mental health disorders. Music therapy improves mood and concentration thereby making them mentally fit and active.
The power of music is such that it can bring you joy and comfort, help you relax and motivate you at the same time. It rewires your brain being a good mood booster. It calms your worried mind and boosts your mood. There are songs for nearly every emotion. Music brings people together during various concerts and celebrations and cultivates communication. Let the benefits of music enhance your life and make you happy. Music therapy has a great impact on mental health. Music can raise someone's mood, get them excited, or make them calm and relaxed.
Try to combine music with exercise. With this, you can achieve the joy of music along with health benefits. It is best to participate in Zumba classes and Jazz aerobics to receive both happiness and health benefits together! Remove depression from life and find new forms of enjoyment!