The affect of music on our minds is quite magical, at least in the way the body reacts to it. It helps us mentally and emotionally. We now have an entire line of study dedicated to how our nervous system reacts to music known as neuromusicology. Let’s explore this relatively new science and the benefits of music to our minds.
Music has shown to lower the levels of cortisol in our brain. Cortisol is a stress hormone. Having less of it equates to a healthier body and a happier life overall. Stress prevents our body from working at full capacity and can limit its ability to heal itself as a result. Needless to say, the less stress the better!
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for our “feel good” emotions. Listening to music increases dopamine levels in our brains. Thus, listening to music can help us feel a host of positive emotions. Think about the way you feel when you suddenly hear a song that was your favorite as a teenager. You are 16 again, right? If you are bored and need an energy boost, the right upbeat tune can be just the thing.
Oxytocin is often referred to in the scientific realm as the “trust molecule”. This chemical helps us bond with people and trust others. So if you have a friend or group that you like listening to live music with, these peeps may be your “trusted tribe’. There is often a special bond between music lovers that affords that group a deeper, more intense friendship. Oxytocin may be why.
Productivity & Creativity
From surgeons to athletes, music studies have shown that enhanced focused and increased confidence result when listening to music. This transposes to office workers as well. Software programmers have increased productivity when listening to music. If they are able to choose the music, their productivity is greater still. Moreover, background music enhances performance on cognitive tasks and improves accuracy. So if your employees want to put earphones in and work in their own “zone”, seriously consider it.
From benefiting elderly patients with alzheimers to relieving depression, music can increase your quality of life greatly. The key is tuning into the right music for you. For those with dementia, music from their youth has shown to be very helpful. For individuals chasing away the blues, their favorite upbeat music can be the key that unlocks their joy.
Music is the cheapest form of therapy known to mankind. As it has no known side effects when applied appropriately, feel free to use it liberally. If you end up moving to the beat and losing a few pounds – all the better!