Music has always been a very important part of my life – it truly soothes the soul. Every genre has its own place and time and it has the power to unite people, no matter how different they believe they are.
In this contemporary technology-powered world that we live in, many people worry about their mental health. Mental health is an important factor in everyone’s life, since it has a direct effect on daily functioning. Music is both entertaining and one of the best remedies for negative mental states such as anxiety or depression. This ensures a healthier mental state, which in turn promotes the ability to make moral judgements and good decisions.
The great thing about music is that its (mostly) free and available to all, making it an inexpensive way to maintain your own mental well-being. Music has the ability to calm down a stressed person. It transports the person into the realm of imagination, improving focus and any natural talents.
The following list is only a few ways that music can benefit your brain:
Music’s Effect on the Brain
Music is an extremely efficient therapeutic and mood altering tool because its stimulates different areas of the brain (some say all areas). This occurs because the brain will process all aspects and components of the music. At the same time, it has to focus on timbre, pitch, meter and rhythm. It is so amazing for the brain, as both hemispheres are used to process any type music. The left hemisphere for pitch and rhythm, and the right hemisphere for melody and timbre. And both hemispheres are needed to process meter.
It has been scientifically proven that music stimulates the spatial reasoning areas of the brain. The effect of music on this area is short term, but it has long term effect on stress and anxiety. Research has also shown that music is helpful to stroke survivors and those who struggle with stuttering. Music assists these people in gaining their ability to talk again or talk more fluently. Personal preference is rather important as any type of music is beneficial for the brain, as long as the listener enjoys the music. If the listener doesn’t like the music, an opposite effect may occur and none of the benefits will be experienced.
Reduces Stress and Promotes Healing
Music creates positive stimulation which helps to improve daily experiences. It has been proved that soothing music can even reduce the levels of cortisol in the body. This is the stress hormone and a significant reduction will lower stress levels. Once again music preference will determine the extent of stress reduction. When in stressful situations, soothing music can be used to create a sense of calmness. This will decrease stress and consequently, elevate mood and promote healing.
Music that is upbeat is a great way to enhance the immune system. This happens as the music beat can be hypnotic, and switch the brain into an alpha state. The brainwaves are altered and healing hormones and endorphins are secreted, resulting in happiness and positive energy. Besides, endorphins are natural painkillers and a valuable asset for reducing stress and anxiety.
The best thing about music though is that it is fun and entertaining. Music has all the qualities to turn a boring or difficult experience such as exercise, into a fun experience. Fast paced and upbeat music can even improve the effectiveness of a workout. It specifically enhances motivational levels, making it easier to work harder and longer.
Listening to music, especially classical music can enhance overall memory and improve recall ability. Music has been proven to increase overall intelligence. Children who grow up listening to music, singing and playing musical instruments are actually better at spatial-temporal reasoning.
Music is a way to provide individual specific therapy and can be used as a self-soothing method. It gives people the ability to remain calm under pressure and lowers anxiety levels. Music is in a sense a distraction from difficult situations and improves mood that helps one overcome these situations.
These facts explain why Music therapy is so effective as an alternative or complimentary treatment for everything from mental health issues to recovery from cancer. So, next time you are dealing with something difficult in your life, put on your favorite so and sing along to reap the benefits!
Have you tried Music Therapy before and how has it benefited you?