Music has the unique ability to permeate the mind and body and provoke a host of emotions by simply hitting the right notes and melodies. Different tunes will affect listeners in a host of ways and where one person may feel uplifted, another may feel sad. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how music can alter the way we feel.
The impact of music on the human mind
It’s no secret that humans have been using music as long as we’ve been alive, with stories passed down from generation to generation in musical format, lullabies sung to children and even traditional musical pieces played at milestones, cultural events and more. Some people use music as a motivational tool and others as a sleep aid, but what is the reason behind this?
Well, firstly, plenty of studies suggest that listening to music can trigger activity in the limbic system of the brain – and this is typically where emotions and memories are processed. As it increases blood flow and promotes the production of dopamine (the feel-good hormone), the more you listen to a song that makes you happy, the more you will feel happy when experiencing even the first few notes. On the same scale, listening to music that makes you sad, makes you feel powerful, or makes you sleepy will continue to trigger those emotions long term. This is likely to be why many of us have preferred genres and artists/bands – and songs like the ones that elicit good emotions will likely become firm favorites in just a few listens.
The benefits of listening to music
Upbeat music is proven to elevate moods and listening to it consistently can have a positive impact on your overall physical and mental health and well-being – and the more you listen, the more sustainable these feelings become. When you feel happier, you are likely to be more proactive, to work out more, to take care of yourself, to eat better and to build better relationships with those around you. It can also give you confidence and make you more outgoing, and in turn more approachable, so there are definitely some significant benefits.
There are also plenty of studies to suggest that music can trigger mental processes that keep the brain functioning. This is potentially linked to the complexities of musical compositions and the way the brain processes the information it is receiving. An array of sounds are often structured and integrated in such a way that the brain subconsciously works to decipher and interpret them, in much the same way it performs when reading.
Listening to music can improve your mood and have long-term benefits on both the mind and the body, so why not set aside some time each day to either listen to your favorite songs or search for some new ones that will trigger the same happy chemicals that will keep you smiling for hours to come.