Make sure to check out our Spotify feel-good playlist at the end of this post!
Have you ever heard a song that took you right back to a moment in your past? Or been stirred so much by a song that it put a lump in your throat or brought you to tears? We have all experienced the powerful effects of music on our mood and mind. There is real science behind these experiences, and the good news is you can use music to benefit your body, emotions, and health.
How Music Affects The Body
Music works on our physiological states through setting the pace of the nervous system and brain waves.
Calming music has been found to reduce respiration rate and blood pressure while more energetic music has the opposite effect.
Pretty amazing effects for doing something that is easy, free and fun!
How Music Affects the Mind and Emotions
These physiological changes due to music can result in reduced anxiety, depression, and stress. Lowered cortisol leads to feeling more relaxed. One study showed that listening to relaxing music was found to be more effective at decreasing anxiety than taking an anti-anxiety medication for people waiting for surgery!
Music can give us a natural high too. When we experience pleasure from music, dopamine is released in the brain. Dopamine is the reward neuro-transmitter and is released when something good happens in the brain. Most abused drugs release dopamine, which is one reason why they are addictive. Dopamine is powerful stuff.
The How To
Many of us naturally choose different music for different occasions. Research shows that’s a good idea.
Feeling down?Studies have shown that listening to sad music can actually lead to more positive emotions by giving us an opportunity to safely explore our sad state. Sad music that matches how we feel can help us feel peaceful, comforted, nostalgic, and consoled.
Need motivation to workout? Fast beat, high tempo songs work well for intense workouts as our bodies want to match the tempo of the music. Music also provides distraction from the physical exertion of exercise.
Want to sleep, meditate or de-stress? Put on slow, relaxing music to wind down. If meditating or practicing yoga, match your breath and movements with the rhythm of the music.
Prepping for an important event? Heading into a presentation or interview? Play powerful music that will make you feel “on”. Turns out more bass in a song is confidence building. Find your own version of the Rocky theme song to play in your head - it will help you feel like you can take on the world!
Studying or working on a project? You may find a certain type of music helps you focus and concentrate better than working in silence or with distracting noises around. Try music that includes sounds of nature and that is free of lyrics, which can be distracting.
Tap into the greatest power through music by playing some yourself or hearing it live. If that’s not available to you, singing in the shower will do!
Bottome line: Pick the music that feels right for you at any particular time. Music is subjective, what makes one person feel comforted might make another angry. So tune in to how the song makes YOU feel, then put your favorite songs in different playlists for different purposes.
Let music be another tool in your wellness toolbox, right along with exercise, meditation, and of course your favorite green juice!