Music, the art of making delightful sounds and spins has been suggested to be beneficial to our health. Our health is impacted on by several factors which include physical ailments, mental illness, medications and little-known factors such as music.
The effect of music can be summarised as the “lifting of spirits” and making listeners feel better. This positive effect is not limited to music rendered in languages we can understand or containing lyrics as foreign sounds. Opera records have been shown to also exhibit these effects.
How music affects health
The impact of music begins in the brain, the organ responsible for interpreting the information gathered by our different sense. The brain is made of different parts responsible for many things which include emotions and memory coordination. When sounds and vibrations from a source are sent out, it travels through the air and gets into the air canal. From here on, it gets sent to an area of the brain responsible for interpreting sounds, and we perceive that sound as speech or music. So far, music has been shown to activate chemical messengers (also called hormones) in the brain.
For example, dopamine has been linked with feelings of pleasure and is known to be increased when music is being listened to. The stress hormone, cortisol, is also thought to be lowered by listening to music, helping one to relax and “destress”.
Additionally, research has shown that listening to music had a profound positive impact on mental well-being, depression and anxiety. It helps with coping with life’s troubles to some degree, helping to lower anxiety states and lifting moods when one is depressed.
Health benefits of music
The following are the benefits music of music to our overall health and wellbeing:
1. Music provides an outlet for processing emotions and improving low moods by increasing the brain’s concentration of chemicals that makes us feel good.
2. It helps in relieving stress by lowering the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
3. Relaxing music helps improve calmness in tense situations and lowering anxiety.
4. When dancing, singing along to a song or moving, we are exercising and stimulating the brain.
5. Learning to play an instrument helps in improving one’s self-esteem and mastery of it increases creativity.
6. Music can help slow down the aging process.
7. Music may help with memory recall, often helping retrieve memories tied to specific songs or events. It can also help with attention and focus.
8. Many people bond over similarities in music tastes and favourite musicians. This helps with creating new social connections and is particularly helpful to children and teenagers.
9. Studies have shown that music can help ease pain before, during, and after surgery. It can also help with the process of grieving.
10. Creativity can be improved by listening to music, particularly new music. It helps to challenge the brain to act differently to understand the new sounds, thereby improving creativity.
11. Relaxing music can help you sleep better, especially at low volumes. This is commonly seen in children who sleep better with lullabies.
12. Music can improve one’s quality of life by adding “colour” to the day and promoting positive feelings and emotions. It can also boost motivation and offer you renewed energy for tasks.
13. Music may also help in improving cognition, the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding thoughts, perception and senses.