You might not think so, but there are a lot of things around us that can have a huge benefit for our health. For example, the number of trees in a neighborhood corelate with the health of the people who live there. Similarly, the number of people you have around you will affect both your health and longevity – with those who are regularly lonely having the same serious negative consequences of those who smoke 15 cigarettes a day.
And then, of course, there is music. Music is amazing. Though we don’t understand why we enjoy it so much (what is the evolutionary benefit to wiggling your bum?) enjoy it we do. Even more interestingly, it has huge benefits for our health.
Let’s explore some of the biggest effects that those tunes have on you.
It makes you happier
You probably already figured this one out on your own, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Feeling happy isn’t just a really nice feeling. It also boosts longevity and immunizes you to illness.
And as music can directly contribute to how happy you feel in a certain moment, that means that listening to music can make a huge difference in your health in this way.
So how does it work? It turns out that listening to music provokes the creation of dopamine. That’s the feel good drug that we naturally produce in our bodies during activities like sex and when we eat food we really like.
It reduces stress
Not only does music have benefits for your happiness, it also reduces the body’s stress response. And that’s a big deal, because – as we know – stress can kill. In fact, there is some evidence that up to 60% of the illnesses in our society are caused by stress.
That is a lot!
To effectively have music reduce the stress that you’re feeling don’t just listen to it passively. Creating music yourself has been shown to be far more effective. So, don’t be afraid to belt along on your morning commute.
It makes you eat less
As obesity is a big deal and a huge percentage of the population is overweight, finding ways to make people eat less should be a priority.
It turns out that music can do so. By listening to soft music while eating, you will eat less than you otherwise would. And not to worry! It’s not because you’re actually enjoying the food less. In fact, you actually enjoy the food you’re eating more.
Music improves learning and memory
Playing music while you’re studying or working can be an effective way to boost your memory and how well you learn. That’s obviously a big deal – particularly if you’re learning something that can make you healthier, wealthier and wiser!
Of course, the better you are at a subject, the easier it’s going to be to avoid the stress associated with the testing and the grading that is associated with it. In this way, boosting your memory and how well you learn can have benefits for your health as well.
Music reduces pain
It turns out that music can also be a great way to deal with things like pain. In a study, cancer patients underwent music treatment and experienced far less pain than they otherwise would have.
Similarly, during and after surgery, music also helped reduce pain. Though it should be stated that the music had to be classical, meditative or something the patient themselves chose. Yeah, that’s right, keep Bieber away from me!
Music helps against Alzheimer
Remember how I mentioned above that music helps with memory? (I’m sure that since you’ve got some tunes playing in the background, you so do!) Well, that’s not just true for normal people. It also turns out to be true for people with Alzheimer.
In this case, the music that helps them the most is the music which actually has special significance for them. The theory is that because music stimulates so many different pathways in the brain, it might find some of the pathways which are still healthy and thereby bypass the damage.
Music increases verbal intelligence
The next time you really want to win an argument, try doing it to a beat. There is evidence that verbal intelligence is boosted by music!
So, does that mean that you want to turn on some music when you’re about to get into a discussion? It doesn’t quite work like that. Instead, it turns out that when children are exposed to music, as well as learn rhythm, pitch, beats and so on, this helps improve their verbal intelligence.
How this works isn’t quite clear yet, though it probably has something to do (again) with how music affects a lot of the brain at the same time, possibly including verbal intelligence. This means there might be a kind of transfer effect going on.
The good news? Even if you’re an adult, taking music lessons might still be beneficial as there is other evidence that suggests it still helps even when you’re allowed on all the rides at the fair.
Studying music keeps our brains healthy in old age
And then there is the benefit in old age. People who studied music for at least ten years had a significant benefit over those who only studies for 1 to 9. That second group, in turn, had a huge amount of benefit over those people who didn’t study music at all.
The reason is probably again to the way that music uses a lot of different pathways in the brain and thereby forces our brains to stay flexible. It might be another example of the reverse of ‘use it or lose it’ (which I guess would be use it and you won’t lose it).
Music can help you live a better life
Not only can music make a positive effect on your emotional wellness, it can also help you with making strong establishments for your self-improvement. Including a musical hobby to our lives from a young age can have a number of advantages. Especially in our time, it can help create better employment opportunities as well as people with.
So which role does music play in your life?
James Daily is a professional writer, content manager, and blogger at Flash Essay. When he is not involved in career-related tasks, he follows his other many interests, including astronomy, psychology, and music.