Can you imagine a world without music? Well, that’s what I thought! The world would lack colour and creativity, the depression rate would be significantly higher and so would your level of stress. 40 000 years ago musical instruments were created, and I’m going to talk about some of the benefits of listening to music came along with the creation of music on a physical, social and mental level.
My first main point is the physical benefits of listening to music.
Sometimes we feel stressed out from our busy lives. That stress can raise our blood pressure, which is hard on our hearts, cause sleep problems and pain and bodily complaints such as muscle tension. Music lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and reduces stress and anxiety. It does this because music connects with the autonomic nervous system which is important in brain function, blood pressure and heartbeat regulation and the limbic system which is responsible for our feelings and emotions. Listening to slow or calming music regularly can help our bodies relax and release natural opioids in the brain which over time, means less pain and faster recovery time. Music helps with physical activity because music is good for focus, motivation, performance and keeps you in a good mood while you are improving your physical health. Did you know that 92% of people prefer to listen to music while doing physical activity, and these people can go and perform significantly better and longer? Music also improves the amount of sleep you get. Music has the power to slow your heart rate and breathing, lower your blood pressure, and it may even trigger your muscles to relax. So something as simple as listening to a slow, happy song before bed can improve your sleep satisfaction by 35% and reduce the amount of time spent in bed trying to fall asleep by 54%. The next aspect of music I will be talking about is the benefits of music to your emotional and mental well being.
Have you ever heard of music therapy? Neither have I, up until now! Music therapy is the use of music to address your physical, emotional, mental, and social needs. It varies from activities, such as listening to melodies, playing an instrument, drumming, writing songs, and guided imagery. Research has shown, that listening to music increases the amount of dopamine, a chemical your brain produces to improve your mood produced in the brain. Everyone has a different relationship with music. With me, the band Mumford & Sons mean a lot to me because when my Uncle died they were his favourite band and now when I listen to this music I have a different feeling, a happy feeling! The way I respond to the melody and lyrics of these songs may be different than someone else, which is okay! Music improves your mental well being more than you know. As I said, music is an effective way to reduce or manage stress and stress is bad for your heart, but not only your heart and body. Long-term stress increases the risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and substance use problems. Music may affect people on an individual level, but also as a group. This brings me to my third point, the social aspect!
Music brings people together in many different ways. Like at concerts where you can meet and be around people who are very different, or very similar to you. Or in church, where you can sing or play instruments with people of the same faith. Music is a way to share your feelings and experiences with others that may relate to the music and know they are not alone. Music also brings people together through being in a band and other musical activities through school or in your community. Being around other musically talented people or music lovers is important because you can discuss your shared interests and share your talents which is a form of personal expression.