The Benefits of Listening to Music

Music Connects Us

Listening to music is a powerful way of uniting people:

  • National anthems connect crowds at sporting events.
  • Hymns build group identity in houses of worship.
  • Love songs help prospective partners bond during courtship.
  • Lullabies enable parents and infants to develop secure attachments.

Music’s Effects on the Mind

  • Listening to music engages your brain – you can see the active areas light up in MRI scans.
  • It can improve memory. Music memory is one of the brain functions most resistant to dementia.
  • It can help treat mental illness. Listening to music triggers the release of several neurochemicals that play a role in brain function and mental health.
    • Dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure and “reward” centers.
    • Serotonin and other hormones related to immunity.
    • Oxytocin, a chemical that fosters the ability to connect to others.

Music’s Effects on Mood

It has the power to change moods and help people process their feelings.

  • It can help lower anxiety.
  • The body releases less cortisol, a stress hormone, when people listen to music.
  • Listening to relaxing music after a stressful event can help your nervous system recover faster.
  • It helps the symptoms of depression-nostalgic sad tunes can actually increase symptoms of depression, especially if you tend to ruminate or withdraw socially.

Music’s Effects on the Body

  • Listening to music can your alter:
    • Breath rate, heart rate, blood pressure, depending on the music’s intensity and tempo.
  • Working out with music:
    • Improves your mood.
    • Helps your body exercise more efficiently,
    • Cuts down on your awareness of exertion.
    • Leads to longer workouts – syncing your workout to music can allow you to reach peak performance using less oxygen than if you did the same workout without the beat.
    • Music can help manage pain – music helps people manage both acute and chronic pain better than medication alone.

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