Being people who believe that life wouldn’t be tolerable without music, we can tell you for a fact that music makes everything a little bit better – at least for us. But wait a minute, the music industry only keeps growing, and this must mean something, right? Yes, the music is absolutely awesome, and not just because it’s fun.
Numerous recent scientific and medical studies have shown that listening to music enhances our mental well-being and improves our physical health in unexpected ways (but seriously, did we need research to know this?). So in honor of music’s wonderful secrets, below are five relaxing effects of listening to your favorite tunes.
Research has shown that when you listen to music you enjoy, your brain releases dopamine – the feel-good neurotransmitter – which can turn everything around and elevate your mood. Whether you’re listening to music on your phone, laptop or have decided to go retro with the best record player out there, the important thing to know is whatever tool you use, you’re out to get the perfect emotional boost when you need it.
It has also been found that listening to music you like decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which helps fight the effects of chronic stress. And since stress causes around 60% of all our illnesses and disease, this must be great news! One of the common pieces of advice many people receive is to keep the music playing in the background as they work or go about their day, to stay stress-free and healthy.
Less road rage
In the Netherlands, the results of a relevant study showed that listening to music can shift your mood for the better during driving, inspiring calmer, safer behaviors while dealing with traffic and other drivers. So the next time you feel the urge to roll down your window and scream at the car that just cut you off, consider playing music that will make you just shrug and smile.
A study in the United States showed that students who indulged in listening to some relaxing classical music for 45 minutes before bedtime slept significantly better than those who listened to an audiobook, or didn’t change their routine before bed at all. This is especially great news for sufferers of insomnia.
At Drexel University in Philadelphia, research found that music therapy and pre-recorded music reduced pain in cancer patients more effectively than conventional treatments. In addition, other studies suggest that music therapy was able to decrease pain in intensive care patients and geriatric care patients – in these cases, the tunes had to be either classical piece, meditative music, or songs of the patient’s choosing.
Science is now telling us that music can improve our mental well-being and physical health on the molecular level, making music greater than it was to begin with. This is because enjoyment of music goes far beyond the present moment, directly influencing the outcome of our hormones and cognitive functioning. So, next time you feel the need to relax, pick up your favorite album or record and blast it through the air. You will feel great during, and afterwards, and now you know why.