THE BENEFITS OF MUSIC ON MENTAL HEALTH
Music is a powerful part of life. How many times have you used the benefits of music to nurse a broken heart? To get you pumped for a workout? How about to fall asleep, get inspired, or to entertain in the background at a party?
Each of us has our own musical preferences, but we’re connected by the need to reach for it in one way or another. And for good reason. Because it can strengthen our mental health.
Music and Your Brain
Are you right-brained or left-brained? As you might know, “left-brainers” tend to be more rational, logical, and analytical, while “right-brainers” are usually more intuitive, random, and creative.
Why am I talking about the sides of the brain? Because, fascinatingly, listening to music is one of the few activities that uses BOTH sides of the brain. This is more typical of those who are singing or playing an instrument, but it’s helpful for those just listening too.
And guess what else? Listening to music increases the “love hormone” oxytocin in your brain, which makes you feel calm, secure, content, and reduces anxiety. Amazing! It’s also been shown to promote high serotonin levels that help learning, sleep, mood, and memory.
This is fascinating for mental (and physical) health and wellness. Not only is music pleasurable to listen to, it’s also good for us! Here are some specific ways it can help you:
How You Can Use Music for Wellness
According to eMedExpert.com, there are six big ways we’re affected by music:
1. Pain Reduction
For those with post-operative or chronic pain, music can be a helpful tool in reducing and managing suffering. That’s probably because it helps release endorphins (which fight pain), distracts, and relaxes you.
Music can also reduce the amount and severity of chronic headaches and migraines, lower blood pressure, and increase immunity by causing the body to make more immune-boosting hormones.
2. Better Mood
Listening to music lifts your spirits and has been shown to have positive effects on anxiety and depression. Music that is bright and cheerful especially is shown to help those who are down and reduce the effects of depression.
If you are feeling nervous before an operation, it’s not a bad idea to throw on some calming music to reduce your anxiety. 🙂
3. Improved Physical Performance
Anyone who exercises regularly will tell you that music is motivation to get moving. Trying to workout more? Try putting on some music before and during your workout. When you have upbeat music playing, exercise feels like fun instead of a “how-to.”
Music can even increase your athletic performance by fighting fatigue, improving motor coordination, reducing muscle tension, and making coordination and movement more efficient.
4. Increased Brain Function
Yep, music can even make you smarter. Listening to music has been shown to improve:
- spatial-temporal reasoning
- reading and literacy skills
- emotional intelligence
- and attention and concentration
You know how they say playing classical music for babies help their brain development? This is no exception. It’s been shown to work for adults too.
Struggling with a lack of energy? Work feeling monotonous? Try listening to your favorite upbeat song. Music can help energize you if you’re bored or fatigued and can make you more productive.
Seems contradictory to point #5, right? But that’s what’s so amazing about music—it can help your mood in whichever direction needed. While some music will give you more energy and keep you working, slower music can help calm and relax you. Music can help you fall asleep and reduce stress.
Basically, this means that whether you are happy, sad, tired, anxious, or depressed, listening to your favorite type of music—or music that fits the environment you want to create—can work wonders for your mental health.
What type of music do you prefer? Do you notice it has a certain physical or emotional effect on you? Or when are times you’ve noticed that music delivers you a little boost?