Music Could Be Your Next Mental Health Tool and Mood Enhancer!
Music may just be the new simple way for you to transform your entire mood, according to new studies. It has been shown that music possesses the ability to uplift your mood as well as fight off depression. Furthermore, music has exhibited results in improving blood flow similar to the results achieved with statins. It has also been proven to be able to lower stress hormone levels as well as ease pain. Think about this – it has even been documented that listening to music before surgery can actually improve the outcomes post-surgery. Now that is something!
How Does Music Work For the Mind?
So, how is it possible that music can be so beneficial? Well, apparently this lies in music’s ability to ‘selectively activate’ neurochemical systems as well as brain structures that are related to good moods, the regulation of emotions, and the brain’s ability to retain information and focus. This has been studied by Kim Innes who is a West Virginia University professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health.
In fact, Innes was the co-author of a study in 2016 which uncovered that listening to music showed benefits in cognitive response and general health in older listeners who are known sufferers of cognitive decline. In her studies, she compared the benefits of listening to music to that of engaging in meditation. In addition to cognitive health, it was found that people exhibited better sleep quality after listening to music. Of course, meditation still remains a powerful health and well-being tool. For those who find the notion of listening to music a much more attractive one than taking up meditating, the good news is that there were striking similarities in both the practices!
Not All Music Yields Positive Results
However, not all music is created equal. It was found that while there were certainly benefits shown in listening to music, it also had the potential to cause irritation and even unsettle people. Studies have shown that listening to just any music is more stressful than listening to none at all, so it isn’t just a matter of switching on the radio or having a friend flip through their playlist. Of course, we all know of the ominous music related to the classic horror films in the show business which have the ability to create chills up and down your spine!
Apart from potentially inducing stress, the wrong type of music may even promote rumination or even upset mental states. Music was shown to be able to bolster emotions like anger, sadness, aggression, and other negative feelings. It is all down to the rhythms and the characteristic elements of the chosen music which affects our mental and emotional health. The music modulates the neural activity and our heart rates, depending on what type of ‘vibes’ it has.
How Do You Start Using Music To Help You?
If you are looking for something calming or soothing, then the tune to look out for is one that has gradual chord progressions as well as drawn-out notes. It is up-tempo, chaotic music that seems to have the opposite effect on the mind and body. However, bear in mind that every person is unique, and so each person will be subject to their own feelings and mental state when listening to music. This means that there isn’t a piece of miracle music that happens to be calming or mentally soothing for everyone.
There are people who listen to speed metal and find the rock band AC/DC soothing! And just like there isn’t one type of music to suit everyone’s taste, there isn’t a specific ‘music center’ that can be pinpointed in the brain. Music has been found to actually activate almost every part of the brain that has been mapped thus far in science. This alone proves there is immense power in music.
You probably already have the playlists that you know will calm you and relax an uneasy mind! Well, there is actually a thing dubbed music therapy which is where you share your music with your therapist to allow them to better understand you. Music therapy can even involve playing instruments or singing which each reveals its own part of who you are.
Music is simply a means of bypassing reality and getting in touch with our hidden feelings and thoughts. Music is, thus, a powerful and effective aid in mental health – when used properly, of course!
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