How to Use the Power of Music for Better Living

Vinyl on record player
Vinyl on record player / mishoo/

Most of us subconsciously turn to music to relax; there's science behind that intrinsic need to seek solace from it. Listening to music has a significant effect on our nervous system. It also lowers the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline our body produces, which help us stay calm.

Our body and mind are built to gravitate more towards what we need to survive; believe it or not, music is a lifesaver. Our most brilliant move would be to understand how we can lead better lives by using the power of music; here's how.

Improve Physical Health

Listening to music has physical benefits that sometimes have the same effect as medication. It helps reduce the intensity of the perceived pain by sending strong stimuli to combat the pain signals entering the brain. It is often used in geriatric care and palliative medicine. 

Research studies have shown that every time we play music, it effectively regulates the blood flow in our bodies, reduces our heart rate, and lowers our blood pressure. If you are prone to stress, all you need to do to lower the cortisol levels is play your favorite music, whichever genre. 

Playing soft music at nightfall improves sleep quality; soothing instrumentals are a perfect choice. Interestingly, it also helps you eat less if you play music during mealtimes, decreasing your calorie intake. 

We have often seen people perform upbeat music while exercising because high-energy rhythmic beats are known to increase endurance. Sometimes that's all the push you need to maximize your performance during the workout sessions. You can create a playlist full of energizing songs for this purpose. 

Positive Impact on Mental Health

When improving your physical health, it's also essential to give equal care to your mental well-being; your music choices significantly impact your mind. While music generally positively impacts one's mental health, studies show that specific genres, like heavy metal, can make you more anxious. Upbeat music, on the other hand, especially classical or meditative forms, can uplift your mood. 

Several studies have proven the link between music and cognitive function. In one case, the student's performance during tests vastly improved when taken with music playing in the background. They also seemed to answer more questions than usual within the allotted time. This also extends to sportsmen, who tend to do better under pressure when upbeat music is played during the game. 

Music therapy is widely practiced in the mental health field through interventions such as lyrical analysis, songwriting, playing instrumentals, and encouraging active listening to music, to name a few. All of these methods are known to encourage socialization, emotional expression, and conflict resolution. It also soothes our agitated minds, leading us out of a depressive state to a calmer and more positive state of mind. 

Profound Influence on Emotional Well-being

It's widely believed that there's a song for every emotion; research has shown this to be true in how music elevates our moods and dramatically influences how we feel. When we listen to our favorite songs, our pleasure centers are activated, and in response, the brain releases a chemical called dopamine, also called the happy hormone. In other words, it makes you feel good, a feeling we all crave. So, if you are feeling blue, reach for your playlist. 

From a medical standpoint, music plays a major role in regulating the memories and emotions of patients suffering from brain disorders like Alzheimer's and Dementia. Swing and salsa music, in particular, is known to help them spring excitedly into dance and movement, which is necessary for their exercise and entertainment. Listening to the same music helps us reconnect to our past memories and feelings, most notably to happier moments when we feel joy while those songs play.

One crucial effect of music is on people's ability to empathize, trust, and be compassionate toward others. Our brain releases oxytocin responsible for these traits when we listen to music. It also nurtures the connection and the kinship we feel towards people who listen to the same music we do. Popularly, music brings people together at concerts, festivities, and even places of worship. The feeling of community and the sense of belonging it gives is priceless.