“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” ~ Billy Joel
It’s a no-brainer that music makes people feel good. But that old adage that “all the best things in life are bad for you” definitely does not apply here.
As it turns out, music is beneficial for the mind, the body, and we would definitely argue—the soul. Here’s a quick snapshot of how:
• Music may do a better job of lowering anxiety levels than anti-anxiety drugs do, according to one study that measured the outcome of over 400 studies published in the in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
• As many of us have experienced ourselves, music can definitely lift our moods and statistically can help with depression.
• It’s also been shown to improve cognitive function and increase performance and reaction time when people are put in high pressure situations.
• There’s strong evidence out there that music actually helps us cope with pain, or reduces our experience of it. (This might very well be true for other forms of pain—not just physical!) Music therapy is often used to help sooth those about to undergo surgery, or who are recovering from it.
• Perhaps it’s because of our elevated moods that we also work out harder, and for longer when we listen to music. In one study, findings showed that listening to music after a workout can help speed up recovery.
• Other findings show that music can help improve sleep quality, help control appetite and prevent overeating, and improve blood flow to the brain and other areas of the body.
• It’s true that music affects many different parts of your brain; but there’s one part in particular that’s directly related to how pleasurable a song is for the listener. Slow tunes alter brain wave patterns, which can induce a meditative, restorative state.
One last tip: novelty is always good for the head and soul, so try exploring new music too. For guitar fans (and we’re guessing you are one) check out Eric Johnson for some up-beat electric, the mesmerizing “psychedelic Appalacia” of Daniel Bachman, or the classical musings of Ben Beirs.
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