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The Psychological Benefits of Music

We know that listening to music is entertaining, it gives us pleasure and can significantly enhance our moods too. There are quite a few research studies however, that show listening to music, or having any involvement with music, whether you’re learning to play the piano, or the electric guitar or the drums, it can make you healthier and give you an array of psychological benefits. Psychological research is now discovering the specific mechanisms that lead to mood changes and mood regulation with music.

The findings from this research allow us to better understand how different kinds of music improves focus, reduces stress, and makes us happier. Music is an ever-growing, powerful aspect in today’s society, and if you’re one who hasn’t really experienced different types of music or been open to the benefits music offers, you might want to change that. Or even if you’re looking to further expand your music taste in order to improve your mental and physical well-being, we’ve compiled a list of the benefits below in hope that they’ll inspire and motivate you.

Music Reduces Stress

It has been suggested that music reduces stress, as well as manage it. This is more effective with particular types of music that is specifically designed to create a soothing, inducing relaxation, such as meditation music as a prime example. A study in 2013 found that listening to music had an effect on the human stress response, in particular the autonomic nervous system.

Listening to our favourite songs immediately boost our mood levels, and this can be indicated by a variety of things. From dilated pupils, to a faster pulse, blood pressure increase, lowered electrical conductance on the skin and more. One of the first studies in the emotional association with music was performed by Leonard Meyer, you can read more on this here.

Music Improves Your Cognitive Performance

Listening to music while your performing a task is known to boost your mental wellbeing. A research study has shown that if background music is played while a person is focused on a task, it improves the focus. This benefits older adults more so, but applies to individuals of all ages. Upbeat music especially is effective in speed, whereas upbeat and downbeat music can improve your memory. We recommend listening to solely instrumental pieces as these are more soothing for the brain and don’t require a lot of focus to listen.

Music Inspires Passion and Imagination

As we all have our own acquired taste when it comes to music, it means it’s a much more private, personal experience for us than ever before, and a much easier one to access too. We have our own favourite songs to listen to when we’re upbeat and happy, the same when we’re feeling a little sad and emotional. There are songs however, that can empower and inspire confidence which ultimately improves productivity. Have you ever listened to a thought and afterwards felt very strong willed and motivated? It might be Cher’s ‘I Believe’ , ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye, or even Drake’s ‘Started from the Bottom’. If you need to motivate yourself for a certain task, create your very own motivation playlist and it will be sure to improve your mood and spark some passion and imagination.

Music Improves Your Mood

The most obvious one here, is that music can significantly improve your mood. This is backed by science, and one study showed that participants reached a better mood, and they became more self-aware. Whether you’re listening to music or creating it, it acts as an effective therapy too. It can reduce bad moods, stress, and even anxiety.

Music Can Reduce Symptoms of Depression

It’s no doubt that music therapy impacts individuals differently, but it is in fact a treatment for many mental disorders, including depression and anxiety. Classical and meditation music provides mood boosting benefits, while pop, heavy metal, techno, and rap are quite ineffective. Music therapy dates back to the earliest days of civilisation (it originated in the 1940s), and it was used to heal the body and soul, by expressing emotions and feelings that were hard to articulate in words. It is an evidence based therapy, so it is widely supported by findings and evidence the prove it carries countless benefits. Some of the benefits include:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased confidence and self esteem
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • A safe emotional release

If you’re intrigued as to how music therapy works, in short, a professional therapist uses music to address emotional, physical, and social needs of an individual.

Music Improves Performance and Endurance

As briefly mentioned throughout this article, music can improve performance as well as endurance. Scientists have discovered that upbeat music, music with a fast paced beat, inspires individuals to pick up the pace and therefore stick to it. Why do you think so many people create work out playlists? It’s to try and amp themselves up, and it works! A researcher at Brunel University has stated that the ideal tempo for workout music lies somewhere between 125 and 140 beats per minute.

So, if you were looking for ways to get motivated during this quarantine, finding the perfect music, or even curating the perfect playlist could work wonders for your health, mentally, physically and emotionally.


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