It has rightly been said that music is a universal language. All over the world, in every culture, music has a special place. Even if you do not understand the words of a song, it has the capacity to move you. Even if you have never been to a country, its music can cast a spell on you. And finally, even if you will never know why, a tune can make a permanent place in your heart.
That is the unifying power of music. It binds entire communities, cultures, and nations together. If an emotion can be named, there must be a type of music that evokes the emotion. Apart from providing emotional enrichment and physical tranquillity, music has a range of benefits for mental health as well.
Let’s have a look at the ways in which music contributes to better mental health.
5 Ways in Which Music Helps Mental Health
1. It improves performance in cognitive activities and memory function. Research suggests that listening to music stimulates your brain. Several studies have shown that people listening to classical music performed tasks faster and more accurately than those who worked without music.
Music has also been found to slow cognitive decline and has helped people with mild or moderate dementia (loss of memory, language, and thinking abilities) recall instances from their lives. Thus, it improves memory function as well.
2. It regulates your mood. Music can directly affect your mood and thoughts. Many studies show that listening to music can make you happier. Music is processed by the amygdala, which is the part of the brain involved in emotional responses.
When you have a bad start to the day, listening to joyful and uplifting music can change your mood and the course of your day. Fast-paced music with a high tempo can motivate you when you do not feel up to a task.
3. It helps with stress, anxiety, and depression. Today, music therapy is one of the most popular ways of treating anxiety and depression.
Research suggests that music can reduce blood pressure and heartbeat, and affect stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Thus, it can help relieve symptoms of anxiety.
Several studies indicate that music can help calm you down when you feel stressed, by helping your nervous system recover faster from stressful events.
Music can also reduce symptoms of depression. Classical and meditation music is stated to be a mood-booster. However, studies suggest that heavy metal, techno music, and sad nostalgic tunes should be avoided in music therapy for depression.
4. It can help you sleep better. Research indicates that listening to relaxing classical music can help people with insomnia fall asleep. Good sleep is of primary importance for your mental health.
Listening to music decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, reduces stress, and helps put people at ease. Music also triggers the release of dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone, and can thus boost good feelings at bedtime and address pain, which is a common cause of sleep issues.
5. It helps manage pain. Music reduces stress levels. Further, research suggests that it provides a strong competing stimulus to the pain signals that enter your brain. With these two properties, music can assist in pain management.
The results from several studies indicate that music helps people manage acute and chronic (long-term) pain better than medication alone. For example, research found that patients who listened to music before, during, or after surgery experienced less pain than those who did not listen to music.
Whether you believe mental health can benefit from music or not, it is safe to say that music enriches life in various forms. So reach out for that play button whenever you feel happy, sad, nostalgic, or in need of some motivation.
“Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.