The profound effects of music in mental health
A tool to promote physical and mental recovery
by Raquel Torres
If you want to firm up your body, head to the gym. If you want to exercise your brain, listen to music”. Maybe you can do both.
The psychological effects of music can be powerful and wide-ranging. Music therapy is an intervention sometimes used to promote emotional health, help patients cope with stress, and boost psychological well-being. Some research even suggests that your taste in music can provide insight into different aspects of your personality.
Music has been used as a tool to promote physical and mental recovery for centuries, with the ancient Greeks initially describing music as a rational treatment strategy. Music is a highly desirable treatment tool for pain management because it is cost-effective, easy to administer, free of side effects, non-invasive, and does not negatively interact with other medicine. There is overwhelming behavioral evidence to show that passive music listening can reduce perceived pain, with hundreds of published studies describing this phenomenon of “music-induced analgesia”.
This is a summary of various scientific studies; 11 powerful benefits of listening to appropriate music:
● It’s heart healthy. Research has shown that blood flows more easily when music is played. It can also reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increase serotonin (mood, neurotransmitter hormone) and endorphin (painkiller hormone) levels in the blood.
● Changes the brain. Neurological researchers have found that listening to music triggers the release of several neurochemicals that play a role in brain function and mental health: dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure and “reward”, serotonin and other hormones related to immunity, the oxytocin that fosters the ability to connect to others.
● Improve memory. searchers gave people tasks that required them to read and then recall short lists of words. Those who were listening to classical music outperformed those who worked in silence or with white noise.
● It elevates the mood. Music can boost the brain’s production of the hormone dopamine. This increased dopamine production helps relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. Music is processed directly by the amygdala, which is the part of the brain involved in mood and emotions.
● It eases pain. Music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care or palliative medicine.
● It manages pain. By reducing stress levels and providing a strong competing stimulus to the pain signals that enter the brain, music therapy can assist in pain management.
● It reduces stress. Research has found that listening to music can relieve stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers.
● It relieves symptoms of depression. When you’re feeling down in the dumps, music can help pick you up – much like exercise.
● Motivates to learn. Researchers now know that just the promise of listening to music can make you want to learn more. In one 2019 study, people were more motivated to learn when they expected to listen to a song as their reward.
● It helps to eat less. Playing soft music in the background (and dimming the lights) during a meal can help people slow down while eating and ultimately consume less food in one sitting.
● It increases endurance. Multiple scientific studies show that listening to those top workout tracks can boost physical performance and increase endurance during a tough exercise session.
In conclusion, music can improve mood, decrease pain and anxiety, pay attention to how you react to different forms of music, and pick the kind that works for you. What helps one person concentrate might be distracting to someone else, and what helps one person unwind might make another person jumpy.
“Music is the universal language of mankind” – Henry Wadsworth L.
Raquel Torres is a USAT Certified Coach, Professional Triathlon Coach and Professional Triathlete. Raquel also writes blogs for several magazines and her team Athletic Mentors. Since May 2021 she contributes as a columnist with CNY Latino Newspaper. She shares true life stories with her experiences, also tips and tactics that helps anyone to be their best version. To read about her, head over to cnylatinonewspaper.com and search for her by her name. You can also send questions or comments about her column to the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org and go to her website at www.raqueltorres.org