Music has the power to move us profoundly, on the deepest level of our being. Science supports what we’ve instinctively known to be true for so long: that the benefits of music are real, they are prevalent, and they’re worth noting.
“Music can changes lives. Whether you are having a good or bad day, the power of music can change one’s mood.” ― Jess Bowen
Music speaks to us in such a way that our entire being responds. Listening to music lights up almost all areas of the brain, which just goes to show the vast potential music has for healing mind, body, and soul.“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” ― Bob Marley Click To Tweet
My music comes with me nearly everywhere I go (in fact I’m listening to music right now as I write this), and it travels with me because it feeds me on some high level—I’m sure many people could say the same. Music can take us back and urge us forward; it can calms our nerves and energize our spirit.
We are naturally drawn to music, and science is showing us that this is no mistake. The benefits of music are far-reaching; here are a handful of examples.
The Healing Benefits of Music
1. Music relieves pain.
Music relieves both chronic and post-operative pain by stimulating the release of endorphins to neutralize pain. Research shows that listening to music led to significant pain reduction and fewer depressive symptoms in fibromyalgia patients, and resulted in pain reduction in patients undergoing spine surgery.Without music, life would be an error. ― Friedrich Nietzsche Click To Tweet
2. Music enhances heart health.
Lively music increases the heart rate and quickens breathing, while relaxing music has the opposite effect. Our bodies sync to the rhythm of the music, which only seems natural. The appropriate selection of music can be used to induce relaxation and reduce sympathetic activity, and thus may be useful in managing cardiovascular disease.
3. Music boosts mood.
Listening to music stimulates the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine, meaning that music has a strong positive influence on our emotional state. Listening to “happy” music while making a concerted effort to feel happier gives rise to a good mood.
4. Music enhances cognitive performance.
Listening to music, apparently, is like exercise for the brain. Background music may enhance performance on cognitive tasks; one study made a strong connection between background music and test scores.
Research shows that learning music helps build grey matter, which helps enhance intellectual and emotional skills, such as reading comprehension, mathematics, spelling, problem-solving, organizational, and listening and motor skills. The kind of music chosen, however, may make all the difference.
5. Music improves sleep quality.
Despite the need for further research on the topic, studies show a promising link between music and sleep quality, and also suggest that the benefits of music accumulate over time. Music has been shown to be an effective treatment for insomnia among college students.
6. Music relieves stress.
Listening to music can ward off anxiety-driven increases in heart rate and systolic blood pressure, as well as lower cortisol levels—all biological markers of stress. Music has been found to help cancer patients communicate their feelings, manage stress, and ease physical pain and discomfort.Music is what feelings sound like. ― Unknown Click To Tweet
7. Music relaxes surgery patients.
8. Singing music aids memory.
In this 2013 study, those learning a new language could do so with greater success, and greater recall accuracy, if they learned by singing phrases in the unfamiliar language.
In a 2008 experiment on stroke patients, listening to music significantly improved verbal memory and focused attention, and lowered depression and confusion.
Singing and music listening has been shown to improve mood, orientation, and memory for patients with dementia and their caregivers. Both also experienced improved attention and executive functioning, among other benefits.Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand. ― Stevie Wonder Click To Tweet
8. Music boosts immunity.
Our immune system already experiences the stress-reducing benefits of music, but we can take it one step further. Research has proven that music listeners have higher levels of antibodies that prevent infection and higher levels of cells whose job it is to attack bacteria, infected cells, and cancerous cells.
9. Music relieves symptoms of depression.
Music is an effective way to ease depressive symptoms, reduce anxiety, and improve quality of life. Classical and meditation music provide the most benefit.Music is everybody's possession. ― John Lennon Click To Tweet
11. Music enhances workout performance.
Listening to your favorite beats while working out can improve your mood, distract you from discomfort, and increase endurance by 15 percent. “Motivational” music can increase the length of workouts and make you feel better in the process. Tunes can also help the body recover faster post-workout.
12. Soft music encourages mindful eating.
Soft music and dimmed lights during mealtime may help people slow down, enjoy their food more, and eat less. When we’re mindful of what we’re consuming, we can better listen to our body’s fullness cues.
13. Music connects people.
Music influences the emotional and intellectual centers of the brain, but it also has a way of connecting us to one another. Despite our individual differences, we experience music in much the same way. We can relate to each other through music like we can’t with other things.Where words fail, music speaks. ― Hans Christian Andersen Click To Tweet
- Do you listen to music every day, or at certain times of the day, and what does it help you with?
- Which benefits of music have made a real difference in your life?
Please share your thoughts and love for music with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone who loves music.
Whatever song is playing in your heart, have the courage to sing it to the world.
Free feather graphic by We Lived Happily Ever After; lettering by Aim Happy.