Music is a powerful thing. Aside from its entertainment value, listening to music is known to have incredibly positive effects on our brain. More specifically, music can change the way we act, feel and think. So, how does this factor into managing our mental health?
Music has the ability to make us dance like no one is watching, sing until your throat is sore and uncontrollably tap your feet.
Because there is so much music out there, different music affects everybody uniquely.
From rock and folk to electronic and pop and everything in between, there’s an endless variety of music to listen to and finding the songs that speak to you is important.
Researchers from the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development have found a link between music and mental health, seeing it increases memory and retention, as well as maximising learning capabilities.
Our brains trigger particular emotions, memories and thoughts, which often leads to more positive effects on mental health.
Here are five potential benefits music is said to have on our brains:
Elevate your mood and motivation
Strong mental wellbeing is closely aligned with optimistic and positive feelings.
So, when you’re having a bad day, there’s nothing better than playing an uplifting and joyous song as loud as you can.
The bright musical tones and lyrics will change or elevate your mood and empower you for the day ahead.
Slow start to the morning? Need to get through a long day of the week? No motivation to go for a run?
Up-tempo, fast-paced music gets your brain and body moving, making you amped up and motivated to enjoy what’s ahead.
In fact, researchers have claimed classical and ambient music have the best mood-boosting benefits, while metal and hard electronic music were considered to have the opposite effect.
Music’s ability to be a stress reliever should not be downplayed.
Whether playing in the background or you’re giving it your full attention, certain genres of music have the innate ability to reduce stress.
Soft, ambient music provides calming stimulation for the mind. In this case, best avoid loud rock or metal to moderate your stress.
If you’re looking to wash away some stress, search for playlists that contain a lot of ambient and quiet music.
One of many great benefits of music is that it can be used while you perform your everyday activities.
Trying to stay focused and concentrate on an activity—whether that be studying, working or cleaning—can be difficult for some.
Certain types of music are known to boost focus, so it’s important to know which music is right for improving focus.
We recommend listening to instrumental, classical or ambient music.
Everyone enjoys relaxing and switching off their mind at the end of a long day.
Playing music is a simple way of promoting relaxation as it releases tension in your muscles, carrying away any stress or anxiety.
When your muscles are loose, so is your mind.
Listening to music as you drift off to sleep is also an effective way of relaxing and reducing stress as it can help slow your breathing and calm your mind.
Reduce anxiety and depression
Understanding how music affects your emotions goes a long way to help ease anxious and depressive thoughts.
Music Therapy has become a popular form of treating anxiety and depression.
It’s an exercise in listening and composing therapeutic music to promote physical and mental rehabilitation.
In fact, a recent study by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International has shown instrumental, classical or ambient music can help reduce anxiety by up to 65%.