I am not a doctor, as much as the white lab coat I wear at all times might suggest, but I do understand how important the brain is and how much it can be affected by musical stimulation. Recently, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords used music therapy to help her learn to talk again. The still unproven theory revolves around the idea that music is represented in multiple parts of the brain and therefore accesses deeper pathways between neurons. Music then helps patients connect the stored knowledge of words through songs and helps create the new connections needed for speech. This same application has been used to treat stroke victims in the past and has been referred to as The Kenny Rogers Effect. However, music can still improve your day-to-day life even when you don’t have brain damage.
Increase Memory and Language Skills
Regularly playing a musical instrument changes the anatomy and function of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills. But for music listeners, it helps for memory recall and cognitive function. It works for Alzheimer patients as well as for everyone else. If you’re having trouble remembering something, you might have better luck if you play the same music you were listening to when you first had the thought.
Boost Your Immune System
While everyone feels generally better while listening to music, science is there to back it up, too. Soothing music is known to decrease stress, and when it does that, it decreases the level of the stress hormone cortisol. Listening to upbeat music can be just as rewarding. Scientists found that after listening to just 50 minutes of uplifting dance music, the levels of antibodies in volunteers’ bodies increased. They also found that stress hormone levels, which can weaken the immune system, decreased after being exposed to the music. It’s good to keep these things in mind as winter is (supposedly) coming/ is here which means colds soon follow, so you need every little advantage you can get to avoid being sick.
Enhance Your Excercise
Music has a positive effect on exercising. In a recent study, researchers found a positive correlation between fast paced music and exercise. The best music to listen to would be between 120-140 beats per minute, which is about the standard tempo for dance music. If you want to, go through your iTunes and create a new exercise playlist, but if you don’t know which songs have what BPM, try using BPM Assistant (Mac users) or BPM Calculator.
Relieve Anxiety and Pressure
Humming a tune to yourself before taking a test, giving a presentation, or taking a clutch free-throw shot will relieve some of the pressure off your shoulders. In a study of basketball players who were prone to failing at the free throw line, researchers found they could improve the player’s percentage if they first listened to catchy, upbeat music. Listening to the Monty Python song, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” caused the basketball players to lose focus and execute their free throws with minimal involvement from the prefrontal cortex. So if you’re prone to getting anxious, worried, or choking in meetings or presentations, throwing on a humorous, light-hearted song before you go in might help distract your brain enough to keep you from failing.
Fight Fatigue and Increase Productivity
While this claim is not scientifically supported, it just seems to be true. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have music while working, especially if you have a monotonous job. For the same reasoning it helps with exercising, it can also help with fighting fatigue, especially if you change up the music often. Studies have also shown that almost all music increases your mood, because it causes a release of dopamine. So if you’re feeling tired, bored, or depressed, a good pop song might be all the cure you need.
Overall, music can make your day-to-day life better. Whether through your mood, language, brain, or your anxiety. Music is a great motivator and can help you overcome those obstacles that you have been encountering in your life. What kind of music would you listen to in which situation?