Music fills all sorts of roles for people - an escape, a mood booster, a memory refresher, a healer and even therapy. With the state of the world and the incredibly difficult year 2020 has been so far, we are looking for ways to cope, heal, learn, and grow. Music lends a helping hand to do just that.
Listening to music affects our brains on a fundamental level. We can manipulate emotions, pain and our very physiology just by listening to our favorite tunes. Let's look at some specific ways music affects the brain.
Pulls Attention Away From Negative Stimuli
- While listening to music it can act as a positive distraction, focusing our attention away from any negative stimuli and shifting it towards the positive rhythm and emotion instead.
Releases The Feel-Good Chemical
- The neurotransmitter dopamine (also known as the feel-good chemical) can be released into our bodies while listening to music. This is the same chemical that causes "runners high" in athletes.
- When we listen to music with a strong beat, our brainwaves can be stimulated. Faster beats encourage more concentrated and alert thinking, while slower beats are associated with relaxed meditative states
Improves Your State of Mind
- Listening to music has a tendency to improve your state of mind. It can help you keep anxiety and depression at bay. Music is also heavily tied to memory.
Reduces The Perception of Pain
- Studies found that when you listen to calm, sedative music, your perception of pain is reduced. Music takes your mind off the pain and gives the brain the ability focus on something else.
- Make three new playlists for your different modes: Unwind, Upbeat, & Focus. Have fun discovering new music that isn't already in your normal rotation.
- Make homemade instruments with the children in your life with household items. With everyday basics like rice and paper plates, you suddenly have a Tambourine! See more fun kid friendly DIYS here.
- Ask a friend what their current favorite album is and listen to it all the way through in one sitting. Put it on while cleaning the house, making dinner or on your next long drive. Really listen and think about it and have a conversation with your friend about what you honestly thought of it.
- Read a biography or watch a documentary about a musical artist that inspires you. From Taylor Swift to Miles Davis, there are so many to chose from on Netflix alone! (Personal favorites right now are Homecoming and Echo In The Canyon.)
- If you are feeling really ambitious, try picking up an instrument and learning how to play. There are so many YouTube videos that can help you pick up a new musical talent. You might find your new favorite hobby! 🎶