Let The Music Play! – It’s More Important for you than you Realise…
When you are having a bad day and your favourite song comes on it makes you smile and feel good, if you’re training whilst listening to an upbeat song it gives you the motivation to work harder but did you realise music is not just great for uplifting our current mental state and mood but can also greatly benefit us both physically and psychologically throughout our entire lives.
“Music is the strongest form of magic” – Marilyn Manson
Different types of music can reap varied benefits but most tunes you enjoy listening to triggers your brain to release that happy chemical dopamine that makes you feel really good.
Listening to your favourite music not only makes us feel good at the time but can even change the whole way you look at your current situation in the world, as it can help reduce stress, anxiety and even relieve depression.
“There’s nothing like music to relieve the soul and uplift it” – Mickey Hart
Lying back on your sofa or taking a walk whilst just listening to your favourite songs can help you destress and unwind and forget about all the troubles in your life. Listening to relaxing music throughout the day or something soothing when you go to bed can also help you sleep better and more deeply.
A study from Oxford University showed that listening to slow quiet classical music can have a tremendous soothing effect on our body. It can play a large part in helping to fight chronic stress by lowering the cortisol hormone levels that is released by the adrenal glands and therefore also reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
Studies have also shown it can help us deal with pain and ease muscle tension as well as reduce stress and anxiety, so is therefore often played to patients undergoing surgical operations as well as throughout their pre and post-operation care.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley
Science has shown that the Immune system can benefit greatly from music as it increases levels of an important anti-body Immunoglobulin A, that is present in different parts of our body such as our digestive tract and lungs and helps prevent infections. By listening to music we also have an increased number of special cells called ‘natural killer cells’ that attack bacteria, infection and cancerous cells. Research has shown that music is processed in a certain part of the brain that can boost the immune system and our emotional state by altering the brains chemicals and hormones.
Learning & Concentration
Music can play an important part throughout the whole of our lives from before we are even born to when we reach old age. It has even been claimed that live music can improve the health of premature babies especially their heart and lung functions.
Studies have shown that playing music to a baby whilst still in its mothers’ womb can be speed up the child’s learning capabilities once they are born as they were shown to have better cognitive and motor skills.
Listening to some of your favourite music helps improve your cognitive performance and can make it easier to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.
Music increases motivation and can help when you are learning new things and remembering information by expanding your working memory capacity.
Music helps keep our brains healthy in old age and music therapy is often used to help treat people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There have also been cases where the use of music has greatly helped people with speech impediments.
The soft music and lights in nice restaurants might set the ambiance but that soft music has a calming effect on you so can actually make you eat less.
So yes music can even help you lose weight, if you regularly listen to tunes that lower your stress levels, calm you down and make you feel good you are less likely to start craving junk food.
“If music be the food of love play on” – Shakespeare
Motivational music makes you want to get up and start training, if you’re out walking, walk faster or start jogging. Runners and cyclists who listen to music tend to go faster or for longer. Your favourite upbeat songs can motivate you to train more intensely or for a greater duration with more enthusiasm.
Listening to music can also help speed up recovery after working out as it reduces the stress and helps relax the muscle tension. It can also help you go into a near meditative state whilst stretching out therefore helping you to relax completely and clear your mind more easily.
“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
Regularly listening to good music can have the same effect on your brain that regular exercise has on your body, as it can keep your brain fit and healthy for your whole lifetime. So what better combination can there be than to regularly work out listening to your favourite tunes on your MP3 player.
I can’t imagine life without music and I listen to it practically every day, it motivates me to get up and train and continue doing so when the going gets tough. I listen to it when doing mundane tasks throughout the day and when I’m trying to find inspiration. I also find it is a great way to de-stress and relax and listen to my favourite soothing tunes when stretching.
If you are also a music lover and have any comments or would like to share different ways that music helps you throughout your life I’d love to hear them so please leave a comment below.