What are the benefits of music?

Isn’t it interesting how hearing a specific song can bring a special memory back or make you feel happy or quiet or pumped up? People are born capable of knowing the difference between music and noise. In fact, our brains have different pathways to process different music parts including pitch, melody , rhythm and tempo. And, fast music can actually increase your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, while slower music tends to have the opposite effect.

Enjoyment goes much further than the present moment, as it directly affects the outcome of our hormones and cognitive functioning. While research has suggested that people who play instruments are smarter, the music enthusiasts also get plenty of benefits.

Here’s a list of 10 benefits of music listening:

  1. According to a small 2010 study, music reduces levels of stress hormone cortisol almost as well as massage therapy. Randomly, scientists assigned anxious patients to listen to music during massage therapy or while they were lying in a dim room. People who only listened to music had the same reduction in anxiety after three months as those who also had massages.
  2. Listening to happy music at work can help you accomplish tasks faster, particularly if you’re doing anything boring like checking emails or filing documents. One research found that surgeons’ precision and performance increased when they were operating in the background with the music of their choosing. Researchers at Cornell University have find that upbeat tunes help staff collaborate and make group decisions that ­contribute to the good of the team.
  3. Before surgery listening to music was shown to relieve anxiety and reduce the need for sedatives. − It helps to reduce discomfort following surgery. An review of 73 research reported in the Lancet in 2015 found that listening to music before, during or after surgery enhances rates of anxiety and pain, suggesting less pain medication.
  4. People come up with more ­creative solutions when they listen to happy, upbeat music than when they sit in silence, according to ­researchers from the Netherlands and Australia. It may be because ­music improves your brain’s flexibility or because it relaxes you enough for the creative juices to flow. But don’t play the music too loudly; research also has found that moderate volume provides the creativity sweet spot.
  5. When you listen to music, your brain releases dopamine, the same neuro­transmitter that’s ­released when you eat chocolate or have sex. One study found that just the anticipation of knowing the best part of a song is coming can get the dopamine flowing.
  6. Feel like quitting a workout? Whether you’re running, biking or walking, you’ll go farther if you pump up the jams, studies have found. ­Music distracts you from your discomfort and motivates you to stay with the beat. The effect is so profound that the author of a 2012 review examining the psychological effects of music on ­exercise called music “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug”.
  7. That rush of energy you feel when you put on your best power song is real. University-age men who were studied doing squats while listening to a favourite song took off more ­explosively and performed reps at greater speeds than those doing them in silence, one study found. People also run faster and hold heavy weights longer when listening to music.
  8. Listening to music before bed can help you fall asleep faster, wake up less often during the night, and feel more rested in the morning, according to the US National Sleep Foundation. In one study conducted in Taiwan, seniors with sleep problems who listened to 45 minutes of soft, slow music before bed reported a 35 per cent improvement in the duration of their shut-eye and less dysfunction throughout the day.
  9. Music has been used to heal for centuries, and now we’re learning why it works. The latest meta-analysis of 400 studies finds that ­l istening to music promotes the body’s production of an antibody (called ­i mmunoglobulin A) that ­attacks ­viruses and bacteria, as well as ­natural ‘ killer cells’, which kill ­invading viruses and cancerous cells.
  10. Time does fly when you’re ­listening to music: scientists have shown repeatedly that people judge a period of waiting as shorter when music is playing. Retailers use that to their advantage, playing music so you stay longer and spend more.

Music exerts a mighty influence on people. It can boost memory, build endurance of the task, lighten your mood, reduce anxiety and depression, stave off tiredness, improve pain response and help you to work out more effectively.

Check out my related post: Why is music better than language skills?

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