Studies have shown that music can have a significant impact on emotions and health. From impacting brainwaves to affecting emotions, music is a powerful force that can aid mental health.
Music & Stress
While upbeat music can give you a boost of optimism and positivity, music with a slower tempo can help release stress by quieting the mind and relaxing muscles. Research has shown that music that contains around 60 beats per minute can cause alpha brain waves, which are present when we are relaxed. Music is easily accessible to everyone, which makes it a great and easy stress reduction tool. Finding the right music to relax you means finding music that you enjoy. While stringed instruments can be effective, if it’s not enjoyable to you then it has the potential to cause tension. It’s important to find what works for you. Mixing in sounds of rain, thunder, and nature can be relaxing when mixed with light jazz, classical music, or easy listening.
Music & Sleep
Similar to how it affects stress, music can affect sleep as well! From birth, parents play lullabies and gentle rhythms to help babies sleep. But children aren’t the only ones who sleep better with calming music! Classical music has been shown to be an effective remedy for insomnia. Devoting around 45 minutes a day to listening to calming music in a relaxed position can induce sleep, and can even reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Listening to music before bed can also increase sleep efficiency, which means better rest and less waking up at night.
Music & Memory
Not only does music help retrieve stored memories, but it helps create a foundation for new ones. In two recent studies, elderly people who had done moderate physical exercise with music several times scored better on memory and reasoning tests. Singing lyrics has been shown to be helpful to those recovering from strokes or brain injury learning to speak again. Music has become a lifeline to some with dementia who are struggling to connect and stay present.
Music & Moods
Enjoying music involves the pleasure center of the brain, which targets the dopamine systems. The dopamine that comes from music can boost self-confidence and moods, as well as change a person’s perception of the world around them. Putting on an upbeat song during a bad day can put a smile back on your face and get your body moving. By reducing stress and anxiety, music can make room for more positive emotions!
There are many benefits to using music for mental health. What are your favorite ways to support your mental health with music?