Did you ever consider watching a movie without the soundtrack playing? Or think about how a book would read without any descriptive adjectives? While we may not always be aware of it, music has a massive impact on how we process and experience the world around us. From the day you were born, music has profoundly affected your thoughts and emotions(sometimes without you even realizing it)!
It’s no surprise that one study found that people who listen to music while they work feel more productive, happy, and creative. Think back to the last time you were at the gym and felt like you could lift heavier weights or light up that metaphorical fire under your butt to run just a little bit further or faster. That’s the power of music! It has the ability to channel your thoughts and push you to achieve things you never thought possible.
You can look at the world around you and see the evidence of music’s impact everywhere. For example, ever wonder why most stores play music? It’s not just to create a pleasant atmosphere- research shows that store music can actually influence what shoppers buy. Music is the flavor of life, and it has the power to change our mood, physiology, and even the way we think.
Did you know that music has a profound effect on the brain? It can help improve cognitive function, memory, mood, and more. This blog post will explore the seven effects of music on the brain. We will explore how you can make music part of your swiss army knife for success and how it can help shape your reality.
What can listening to music do for your mind?
This is a loaded question, and effects vary from person to person. Luckily for you, science has come a long way, and much research has been conducted on the topic. We will go over some of the more commonly experienced benefits here.
Ever wonder why you may have listened to a lullaby as a child to help you sleep? It appears that your parents were on to something, and kudos to Mom & Pop for being ahead of the science! Research has shown that music can help improve sleep quality. One study found that people who listened to 45 minutes of relaxing music before bed fell asleep faster and experienced deeper sleep cycles than those who did not listen to music.
Other studies have found that music can help reduce anxiety and insomnia. Listening to music can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly throughout the night.
The next time you are having trouble sleeping, try putting on some soft music or ocean sounds and see if it helps you relax and drift off to sleep.
One of the most common benefits of music is its ability to improve focus and concentration. Whether you are trying to learn a new skill, complete a project, or simply want to be more productive, music can help!
Research has shown that people who listen to music while working are more productive, happy, and creative. Music can also help reduce distractions and increase your focus.
So, if you are looking to boost your productivity, try listening to the same playlist every day while you work. This will help your brain to associate the music with focus and concentration. Think of it as a Pavlovian response!
We all experience stress in our lives. Whether it’s work, school, family, or personal relationships, there is no shortage of things that can cause us to feel overwhelmed and not escape it.
No, this is not meant to be a bummer of a blog post, music to the rescue!
Listening to music can help reduce stress and anxiety. One study found that people who listened to music for 30 minutes had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who did not listen to music.
Other studies have found that music can help improve mood, blood pressure, and heart rate. So, if you are feeling stressed out, try listening to your favorite tunes and see if it helps you relax.
One of the more surprising benefits of music is its ability to improve working memory. Working memory is our ability to remember and process information at the moment, like remembering what your wife asked you to do at the store or that you pick up your socks, rather than pilling them up on the floor.
A study found that people who listened to music while working had better working memory than those who did not listen to music. The study also found that the more complex the music, the greater the benefit! Yes, instrumental music can help you focus and be more productive. Sorry heavy metal, I have to take a back seat on this one.
Creativity and cognition
While music has been shown to have many cognitive benefits, its effects on creativity are less well understood. Nevertheless, some studies suggest that music can help increase creative thinking. For example, one study found that people exposed to musical stimuli were more likely to come up with original ideas than those who were not.
So, if you’re looking to increase your creativity, listening to music may be an excellent place to start. However, it’s important to note that the music you listen to can have different effects. In general, slower-paced and more relaxing music is more likely to boost creativity. In contrast, faster-paced and more stimulating music are more likely to decrease it. Try listening to the Marvel soundtrack for starters to see if the creative juices start flowing.
Ever watch a particular movie like “Indiana Jones” or a TV show like “Night Rider” and the theme music stayed etched in your mind long after? That’s because music can embed itself in our long-term memory.
One study found that people who listened to music while working on a task were better able to remember what they did and how well they did it compared to those who did not listen to music. Study for a test? Pop on some classical music or an upbeat playlist to help you better remember what you studied.
So, not only can music help you focus while working on a task, but it can also help you remember the task better later on.
Why is music so powerful?
Remember how listening to the right playlist can provide you with that burst of energy you need to push past that last few reps or help you get through a long run?
It turns out that music can affect us on a physiological level by changing our heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. How, you may be wondering?
Well, music affects the autonomic nervous system, which controls all of the automatic functions of our body, like heart rate and breathing.
Some studies have even found that music can help improve exercise performance by up to 15 percent! Don’t know about you, but increasing my odds of success by 15 percent just by putting on my headphones is a no-brainer.
What can listening to music do for your body?
So, we know that music can have several benefits for our cognitive abilities, but what about our physical well-being?
Listening to music has been shown to reduce stress anxiety and even help reduce the lifespan of the common cold! Sounds like some miracle drug, right?
Well, it all comes down to the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and pleasure. When we listen to music, our brains release dopamine, which makes us feel happy and can even help reduce pain to a varying degree.
What’s even more impressive is that your body doesn’t even need to be physically moving to experience these effects. Just listening to music can have a positive impact on your health!
What type of music genres are there?
Now that we know all the fantastic things music can do for us let’s look at the different types of genres out there.
For all of you enthusiasts who enjoy instrumental music, classical is probably the genre. This type of music is typically characterized by its complex and often emotionally-charged melodies.
Suppose you’re looking to improve your focus or memory. In that case, classical music may be a good choice as it has been shown to increase alpha brainwaves. What do alpha brain waves do, you may ask?
Well, they’re associated with a state of wakeful relaxation, which means they can help improve focus and attention while also reducing stress and anxiety. Boom, what a powerhouse combo!
If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat and lyrics that you can actually sing along to, then my friend, pop music may be more your style.
While it may not have the same cognitive benefits as classical music, it can still help improve your mood and reduce stress. So, if you’re looking to add a little pep to your step, pop is probably the way to go.
Love letting loose and headbanging to some heavy tunes? Then rock is probably the genre for you!
This type of music is often characterized by its fast tempo and aggressive lyrics. While it may not be the best choice for studying, it can help improve your endurance and performance when working out. Have you ever tried listening to “Don’t stop me now” by Queen while working out? Trust me, it makes a difference.
If you’re looking for something a little more mellow and a style of music that has stood the test of time, then jazz is the perfect genre for you.
This type of music is often characterized by its smooth, relaxing melodies and is great for romantic evenings or winding down after a long day.
Sure, there may be many more musical genres out there, but these are some of the most well-known. People usually like to stick to what they know, but I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
What does music do to your emotions?
First and foremost, music can help reduce stress and anxiety. It does this by stimulating the release of dopamine and serotonin- two feel-good neurotransmitters. One study found that participants who listened to 30 minutes of relaxing music per day for three weeks had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Listening to upbeat music has increased positive(happiness) emotions and decreased negative(sadness) feelings. Think about that for a moment- by simply listening to music, you have the power to change your emotional state. Such a small impact can have such a substantial impact!
Ever try listening to “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra when you’re feeling down or going through a tough time? The happiness is practically oozing out of that song!
So, the next time you’re feeling down or stressed put on your favorite tunes and let the music work its magic! Best of all, it’s free, doesn’t need a prescription, and has no side effects!
What are the benefits of toddlers listening to music?
By now, you should have a pretty clear indication of the power music has on our brains. But did you know that music can also help shape a child’s reality?
Studies have shown that children exposed to music tend to have better math and reading skills, improved social skills, and heightened creativity. It even helps if you introduce a musical instrument to your child early. It’s a win-win since Mom & Dad have some well-deserved “quiet time” while the kiddo gets to explore their creative side and may turn into a musical prodigy!
Jokes aside, learning an instrument does have its benefits. Studies have shown that children who learn to play an instrument have increased neural activity in the areas of the brain responsible for processing sound, memory, and attention span.
Is music essential for child development?
The answer is a resounding yes! As you can see, music has many benefits for children. It helps with their cognitive development, social skills, and creativity. So, if you’re looking for ways to give your child a head start in life- make sure music is part of their daily routine!
Not only does music shape a child’s reality, but it can also help forge strong bonds between parent and child. Think about all those times you’ve shared a special moment listening to your favorite singer or band with your friends or family. Music has a way of bringing people together and forming connections that last a lifetime.
Did you know:
- The world’s largest on-demand music service is YouTube.
- Children who are exposed to music tend to have better math and reading skills
- Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was the first pop video, which was released in 1975.
Sum it up
Music has a profound effect on the brain and can help shape your reality. It can reduce stress and anxiety, increase positive emotions, and help forge strong bonds between people. The proper rhythm and melody are like medicine for the soul, like that perfect-tasting food that just hits the spot. It can help children with their cognitive development, social skills, and creativity. So make sure to include music in your daily routine!
We will like to know what’s your favorite song is and how it makes you feel in the comments below.
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Please share this article with friends/family members who could benefit from reading it. Thank you for being part of this journey, and keep in mind that the best is yet to come.
Have a playlist or album that you love and want to share? Always welcome to share in the comments below. This has been “7 Effects of Music on the Brain: How Music Shapes Your Reality” I hope it was helpful.
- Harvard Health. 2022. Why is music good for the brain? – Harvard Health. [online] Available at: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-is-music-good-for-the-brain-2020100721062> [Accessed 17 March 2022].
- “Listening to Favourite Music Improves Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients: U of T Research.” University of Toronto News, https://www.utoronto.ca/news/listening-favourite-music-improves-brain-function-alzheimer-s-patients-u-t-research.
- Michael Trimble, D., 2022. Music and the brain: the neuroscience of music and musical appreciation. [online] PubMed Central (PMC). Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618809/> [Accessed 17 March 2022].