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The Magic of Music and How it Affects Us

The Magic of Music and How it Affects Us

Music has been used as therapy since early human history. There’s no argument that listening to music can affect our emotions deeply. A sad song can suddenly make us feel weepy and an upbeat tune has the ability to somehow uplift our mood. When we feel anxiety and stress, tuning in to ambient music helps relax and calm us down.

If simply listening to soft, calm music after a long and stressful day can help soothe and uplift our mood, there must be more to music than meets the ear.

Music as Medicine

Significant studies show that listening to music you enjoy releases dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of happiness; and reduces cortisol, a hormone that contributes to feelings of stress and anxiety.

While dopamine brings about overall health and well-being, cortisol causes long-term health problems by depressing your immune system. So it seems that the more we listen to music, the more positive an impact it can have on our health.

Music is truly a natural medicine but not all music is made equal, and the type of music matters. Interestingly enough, according to research, listening to new-found music produces more dopamine than listening to the same music repeatedly.

Music for Body, Mind, & Soul

Music provides many benefits to all areas of the human psyche:

  1. Improves endurance – Athletes will be pleased to learn that listening to music improves endurance by 15%. Studies vary in their findings as to what the best type of music to listen to is – some findings show that classical music is the most beneficial, while others indicate it’s not the genre but rather the beats per minute (bpm) that matter.
  2. Improves sleep quality – the direct effect on the nervous system helps your body relax and prepare itself for sleep. Just 45 minutes of relaxing music before turning in for the night can help you fall asleep faster, longer, and have a more restful sleep.
  3. Boosts creativity – It has been found that happy music increases divergent thinking, and enhances your creativity. 
  4. Helps concentration and focus – Whether studying or working, music enhances concentration. The type of music is very specific to the individual, but repetitive music without lyrics is likely to be more effective, especially if the task requires reading or writing.

For whichever role music plays, consistency is key. Like most natural methods, the beneficial effects take time to become noticeable and increase over time, so don’t expect immediate results.

Research has shown that to get the benefits, the most effective type of music is relaxing or meditative, such as classical, ambient, instrumental, or the soothing sounds of nature. What’s more important is you know what makes you feel good, and that’s all that matters.