Ready to take some NOTES? Here are 5 benefits of listening to music!
Did you know that the oldest musical instrument in the world is at least 50,000 years old? The Neanderthal Flute was discovered back in 1995 in the cave of Divje Babe in Slovenia. The flute is supposedly made of a young cave bear’s femur with spaced holes. The existence of the flute may indicate that music played a role in our early ancestors’ lives.
Just as our ancestors, music is also present in everyone’s day-to-day lives. Whether you’re celebrating your most memorable birthday or experiencing your worst heartbreak, you can count on music to always be there for you. On a larger scale, music has also helped define nations through their national anthems, folk songs, and modern-day songs. Not only does music entertain you, but it also allows you to connect with other people since music is a universal language everyone understands.
If you think that’s all music has to offer, think again! A study by Dr. Emma Gray has found that songs with 50-80 bpm (beats per minute) allow you to reach a relaxed state while you’re awake. This state of mind is called the alpha state, which increases productivity, lowers stress levels, and reduces anxiety. This is just one of the many benefits of listening to music. Stay TUNED to know more!
1. Spares you from heartaches! (quite literally…)
Aside from providing you with the right tunes for your emotional times, music helps keep your heart healthy in more ways than one. According to Harvard Health, research shows that music may relax your arteries, improving blood vessel functions. Additionally, the calming effect of music also helps lower your blood pressure and improve your breathing.
2. Tired? In pain? Fatigued? Well, this is a relief!
Have you wondered why people listen to music when exercising? While listening to music, sensory pathways in your brain that compete with pain get activated. Production of endorphins, a hormone known to relieve stress and pain, also rises. An article by Jenny Markell from the National Center for Health Research suggests that these two occurrences distract you from fatigue and increase your endurance which is great for workouts!
3. Immunity Booster!
Better immunity sure comes in handy, especially during a pandemic! In Daniel Levitin’s book, This Is Your Brain on Music, one reviewed study shows that music helps increase the production of immunoglobulin and natural killer cells. Immunoglobulins, commonly known as antibodies, are y-shaped proteins that help neutralise pathogens like viruses. The immunoglobulin blocks the pathogen’s means of reproduction and tags the pathogen for attack by other parts of the immune system. In addition, natural killer cells are a type of white blood cell that can kill virus-infected cells and cancer cells.
4. Gets you feeling some type of way! (a good way, don’t worry!)
Every bad day gets better with a little bit of music — but do you know why? A study by Moraes et al. (2018) found that music boosts your serotonin and dopamine levels. Both serotonin and dopamine are mood-regulating hormones that make you feel happier. Another study by Thoma et al. (2013) observed that your stress levels also get lower as your body’s primary stress hormone, cortisol, decreases when listening to music. The change in your hormone levels elevates your mood, which in turn increases your productivity and alleviates your symptoms of anxiety.
5. Brings back all the memories… (and helps you make new ones!)
Ever struggled to remember something important? This unfortunate phenomenon is called a mental block, and it is commonly caused by stress. Luckily, as mentioned previously, music relieves stress. Moreover, Dr. Anne Fabiny wrote in her article on Harvard Health that music also activates and exercises areas of the brain related to speech, memory, emotion, reasoning, and reward. With the decrease in your stress levels and the activation of your cognitive functions, not only does your brain retrieve more memories, but it also stores new ones better!
Music is truly beneficial for you in many ways. You can always trust the power of a good song to lift your spirits and get you going for the whole day. Just remember that music isn’t all there is to stay healthy, okay? You also need exercise, proper sleep, and a healthy diet to maintain good health. But hey, at least now, you can have more fun staying healthy with music! So, what are you waiting for? Play your favourite playlist, dance, sing, and live life!
Fabiny, A. (2015, February 14). Music can boost memory and mood. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/music-can-boost-memory-and-mood.
Guo, W., Ren, J., Wang, B., & Zhu, Q. (2015, August). Effects of Relaxing Music on Mental Fatigue Induced by a Continuous Performance Task: Behavioral and ERPs Evidence. PLOS ONE. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0136446.
Harvard Health. (2015, May 16). Listening to your favorite music may relax your arteries. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/listening-to-your-favorite-music-may-relax-your-arteries.
Harvard Health. (2019, August 26). Using Music to Tune the Heart – Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/using-music-to-tune-the-heart.
Markell, J. (2020, July 21). Can Listening to Music Improve Your Workout? National Center for Health Research. https://www.center4research.org/can-listening-music-improve-workout/.
Written by Juliana Padilla
Illustrations by Lee Ai Cing