Music plays a huge part in my life, as it probably does with most. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t play music, unless of course, I have no access to it. There’s something magical about music; it can make us think or feel a certain way. It can reactivate old memories, lift our mood, get us amped up, allow us to reflect, etc. Let’s face it, music is powerful and that’s why we even have Binaural Beats which help us achieve certain mental states just by listening to different sounds.
I know there are certain songs which make me feel much happier than others, and often, when I feel like I need my spirit lifted a little, I listen to these songs. Even as I write sometimes, I play certain instrumental tracks just to get my creative juices flowing, or to keep me focused. Music most definitely influences your brain, and using the work of Dr Jeremy Dean, we’ve listed 6 benefits of music:
1. Lifts our mood
This has been debated a lot in the past; whether or not music actually makes us feel happier. Many will say it doesn’t but recent studies have showed otherwise. Research conducted by Ferguson and Sheldon (2013) has demonstrated this. In this study, participants were given upbeat classical music by Aaron Copland to listen to. Those who actively listened to the music with the intention of feeling happier, experienced a much more positive shift in their mood, compared to those who passively listened to it. The key therefore is to actually engage with the music itself.
Sometimes when you listen to music through headphones, you can feel this extra emotional power because you’re almost “forced” to engage with it, without any distractions from the outside world. You hear everything much clearer and usually pay more attention to the sounds that are being produced in your ears.
It’s not just upbeat music which can lift our mood, even sad music can! The reason behind this has been captured in a study by Kawakami et al. (2013) which states that sad music is enjoyable because it creates an interesting mix of positive and negative emotions. Consequently, the negative emotions are perceived in the music, but our felt emotions aren’t as strong as this perception.
2. Improves verbal IQ
A study that included participants aged between 8 and 11 years old, found that those who were taking part in extra-curricular music classes, developed a higher verbal IQ than those who weren’t. The children with musical training also developed better visual abilities (Forgeard et al., 2008).
This shows that if you were to play a musical instrument of some sort, you wouldn’t just be improving your musical abilities, you’d also be improving your verbal and visual skills too.
3. Gives us chills
Most people have felt chills down their spine while listening to music. In fact this can be confirmed by a study that Nusbaum and Silvia (2010) conducted, which states that over 90% of us have.
The amount you feel is dependent on your personality. According to most personality psychologists, there are there are five basic dimensions of personality – they are referred to as the Big Five. One of the Big Five is openness to experience – these individuals often like having their mind and senses stimulated, and are more likely to feel the most chills.
“When your playlist strikes all the right chords, your body can go on a physiological joyride. Your heart rate increases. Your pupils dilate. Your body temperature rises. Blood redirects to your legs. Your cerebellum—mission control for body movement—becomes more active. Your brain flushes with dopamine and a tingly chill whisks down your back.” – Lucas Reilly
4. Helps with heart disease
Music can help patients who suffer severe stress and anxiety associated with having and undergoing treatment for coronary heart disease. According to a review of 23 studies covering 1461 patients, listening to music could decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of anxiety in heart disease patients (Bradt & Dileo, 2009).
This same review indicated that listening to music improved mood, as we mentioned earlier. However, this did not apply to those suffering from depression due to the nature of the disease itself.
5. Brings people together
Music is a social activity, whether you’re listening to it with someone, making it together, dancing with or in a group of people, singing along to it with others – music can help bring people together!
A study assessing nearly 1000 Finnish students who took particular in extra-curricular music classes found that they reported higher levels of satisfaction in school. This was in almost every area too, not just classes related to music (Eerola & Eerola, 2013).
The lead researcher explained the results by the following statement:
“Singing in a choir and ensemble performance are popular activities at extended music classes. Other studies have established that people find it very satisfying to synchronize with one another. That increases affiliation within the group and may even make people like each other more than before.” – Päivi-Sisko Eerola
6. Positively shifts our perception
It’s known that music can influence our perception of others. So if you listen to a song which enhances your mood, this can change the way you perceive others, by seeing them in a positive light. We basically project the mood of the music onto other people’s faces!
This has been captured in a study by Logeswaran et al. (2009). It was found that a quick blast of uplifting music, as little as 15 seconds, made participants perceive other people’s faces as being happier. This was also the same for sad music too; faces seemed sadder.
There you have it, that’s 6 benefits of music! Can you think of any more? Let us know in the comments section below. If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it with your friends and family. After all, sharing is caring!
Author: Vex King
I am the founder and owner of the Bon Vita lifestyle brand. I could give myself a title and call myself a lifestyle entrepreneur, personal mentor, writer, designer, innovator, CEO, or anything else I see as fitting. However no title can define me as an individual. I’m just an optimist, a visionary, a philanthropist and jack of many trades. I’m using my positive influence to redefine the creative industries using Good Vibes Only #GVO so that people can fulfil their dreams, purposefully, and enjoy The Good Life #TGL. My daily words of intent are to make people… Think, look & feel GOOD!
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