If you’re a music lover, you already know that turning on the tunes can help calm your nerves, make stress disappear, pump up your energy level during a workout, bring back old memories, as well as prompt countless other emotions too varied to list. And, following recent research, there may be even more reason to turn the music up!
Music triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, a part of your brain that releases the feel-good chemical dopamine and is involved in forming expectations. The amygdala, which is involved in processing emotion, and the prefrontal cortex, which makes possible abstract decision-making are also activated.
After reviewing 400 studies, a meta-analysis has found some striking benefits of music. Among the data was one study that revealed listening to music resulted in less anxiety and lower cortisol levels among patients about to undergo surgery, than those taking anti-anxiety drugs. Other evidence showed music has an impact on antibodies linked to immunity and may lead to higher levels of bacteria-fighting immune cells.
Still more research revealed that playing music in the neonatal intensive care unit improved the health of premature babies with respiratory distress or sepsis. When parents sang to their babies, or sounds mimicking those in the womb were played, numerous benefits occurred, including changes in heart rates, sucking behaviour and parents’ stress levels. Taken together, the latest research makes a strong case for using music as a therapeutic tool for babies and adults alike.
Listening to music while exercising can also improve your performance, increasing your endurance by 15 percent, and your movement will likely follow the tempo of the song. For instance, in one study when the music’s tempo slowed, the subjects’ exertion level reduced as well. And when the tempo was increased, their performance followed suit.
Music is a highly personal choice. We can all tell when a song eases our anxiety, makes us feel relaxed, or boosts our mood. Choosing music is a highly intuitive process, and we all instinctively know the music that we want to hear at different times.
Whatever method you choose, and however you like to listen it, making music part of your lifestyle is a simple yet powerful way to enhance your health and your life.
Source: Why Your Brain Craves Music, Mercola.com.au