“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel
You may not recognize it, but music is changing your life… for the better. Whether at the gym, in the car, or in the shower, music has a way of lifting our spirits. Recent studies show that listening to music provides many health benefits besides mood elevation, including pain reduction, stress management, improved sleep quality, increased IQ, and mental alertness.
What does science have to say about music’s positive effects? Let’s discover seven scientifically-proven benefits of listening to music:
1. Music Makes You Happier
“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.” – William James
According to research, listening to music causes the brain to release a “feel-good” neurotransmitter called dopamine, which results in positive emotions like joy, excitement, and happiness. These are the same feelings we may have after indulging in a guilty pleasure. The next time you’re feeling down, try listening to your favorite tunes for a few minutes to experience a natural high!
2. Music Reduces Pain
Research has shown that listening to music helps to reduce pain. Specifically, one study found that playing classical music, meditative music, or a favorite song significantly helped to reduce pain in intensive care patients. If your painkillers are no longer effective, perhaps it’s time to give music therapy a chance.
3. Music Improves Your Driving
According to a study in the Netherlands, listening to music decreases the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body. This positively influences your state of mind when driving. So, the next time you feel like yelling at someone in traffic, turn on the radio, sing along and tap your feet to the beat to get the maximum healing benefit. This will surely help calm your nerves and help you drive more safely. Imagine a world where everyone keeps calm in traffic!
4. Music Helps You Relax Before and After Surgery
“He who sings scares away his woes.” – Miguel de Cervantes
Research shows that listening to meditative music just before surgery helps to calm patients even better than Midazolam (a drug used for anesthesia or procedural sedation). Another study found that patients who listened to soothing music after open-heart surgery increased relaxation and reduced recovery time.
5. Music Improves Your Workouts
“If people take anything from my music, it should be motivation to know that anything is possible as long as you keep working at it and don’t back down.” – Eminem
Playing your favorite tunes can boost performance during exercise. In fact, physical performance and workout endurance increase when you listen to upbeat tracks during a tough session. Studies also found that listening to music after a workout can decrease recovery time. Try exercising along to a good beat and see how your workout improves!
6. Music Reduces Symptoms of Depression
Over 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Research has demonstrated a correlation between listening to classical music and decreased symptoms of depression. A German researcher named Hans Joachim Trappe also found that music helps patients with symptoms of depression. The next time you need to lift your spirits, try playing some classical or meditative music.
7. Music Improves Sleep Quality
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach
More than 30% of Americans suffer from insomnia. According to research, students who listened to soothing music before going to bed experienced better sleep than those who didn’t. Music has a way of relaxing our nerves. If you’re having a hard time sleeping, perhaps some music by Bach or Mozart music will come to your rescue.
Plato had it right when he said, “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” Regardless of age, health, or emotional state, music will improve your quality of life by reducing stress and anxiety, improving your mood, and enhancing your sleep quality. Music provides a myriad of easy ways to improve your mental and physical health, which will naturally lead to a better life!