When we talk about the seven wonders of the world, music should without doubt be on the list – it’s a wonderful thing. It’s amazing how one song could bring back floods of memories you didn’t know you still had or bring up a particular feeling.
It is also wonderful how humans are able to tell the difference between a noise and music. The brain has different pathways that are able to process different parts of music like the tempo, melody, pitch and rhythm( you begin to wonder why some people never realize the tempo of a song and some others are tone deaf but that’s story for another day).
Fast music can cause your heart to race , your breathing to become increased and your blood pressure to go up. Slow music on the other hand does the opposite.
Even though it’s not completely understood how exactly music is able to have such effects on the brain, research found that when you hear a music you love, your brain releases dopamine, a chemical which is able to improve your moods. According to studies, music also has tremendous effects on the general health and well-being. As a matter of fact, lots of therapies now have music therapy sessions as it has been found to improve emotional health. It is often suggested that your kind of music says a lot about what kind of person you are.
So what exactly could music help with asides these?
Benefits of Music
Can improve cognitive performance
According to research, when music is played while you focus on your tasks, your cognitive performance is improved- especially for adults. One study confirmed that playing music while working improved processing speed and concentration. So next time you’re working on a task, try playing some music, especially if your task involves a lot of mental energy. Instrumental tracks are much better as those with lyrics could be distracting.
Patients who suffer from memory loss often never forget songs. This has therefore been used for these patients to help them retrieve their lost memories. Have you ever heard a particular music and all of a sudden a particular memory comes flooding in? That’s what music does. This could be good information if you have an exam. Reading with music will improve your chances of remembering what you’ve read. So if you want to remember something from your past, play the songs you listened to during that time.
Studies have also found that the music you listen to as a teenager has an uncommon bond to the brain than any other thing you listen to when you get older.
This music nostalgia is a wonderful way to replay your past but beyond that, Alzheimer’s or dementia patients could be helped with it.
Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety
We have already mentioned the direct effect music has on our emotions. According to certain researches, it could be useful in relieving and managing stress. It’s been found that music has the ability to “rewire” the brain same way medications would. This is why you realize slow music has a tremendous relaxing effect on your mind as it calms the mind and even the body.
This might be the cheapest stress management tool but of course not every kind of music will relieve stress. Examples of music that could help manage stress include: flutes, light jazz, classical. Native American, Indian stringed and a host of others. However, to a large extent, your personality determines what music you consider a stress reliever. Feel free to explore other options if the ones mentioned above are simply not your taste.
Also try to pay attention to every environment you find yourself in as noisy environments could build up stress and tension. Others curb this by going around with a headset or an earpiece so they never have to feel stuck. A poor listening diet could affect your stress levels It’s much better to stay in quiet environments where your mind and body can rest.
Apart from just listening, making music is also a great way to relieve stress and tension.
According to researches done on this topic, casual music-making short-circuits the stress response system, preventing it from becoming worse or recurring.
Increase workout endurance
Studies reveal that listening to certain tracks could improve your physical performance and cause your workout endurance to be boosted. This is especially true if you’re listening to a workout track(playlists you have put together specifically for workouts). You know how it works? Well, you aren’t exactly paying attention to the pain and how many miles you’ve run when your favourite jam is playing.
Research confirms that music therapy and pre-recorded music is able to reduce pain more than medications in cancer patients. Another research indicates that it is also ale to reduce pain in patients who are in intensive care. The music selection, however, should be meditative, classical or maybe the patient’s choice.
In fact, here’s what Bob Marley has to say about it “One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain”.
Helps you sleep better
Did you know that close to half the people in the world have sleep issues? If you’re one of them, then music can help (most of you already knew that and have found that it works almost all of the time). Simply play some music softly forty-five minutes before going to sleep, you’ll find that your sleep is improved .
Could Help You Eat Less
This might come as a shock to you but music does help you eat less. This means that it could be a tool for weight loss. It is able to do this because it puts you in a restful mood, especially when you play soft or slow music. Add a dim light and there you have it! Infact, studies were carried out in restaurants to confirm this fact, it was found that people ate less in dimly lit restaurants with soft music than the ones in brightly lit restaurants and loud music.
It is suggested that this is possible because with slow music, you eat slower, making you more aware of when you’re getting full.
You could try this at home too. Play soft music and dim the lights a little while you have dinner. By creating an environment that is relaxed, you’re more likely to eat slowly and feel full sooner.