The start of a new season often brings with it the desire to pursue a healthier lifestyle. For many, this process includes making better food choices, incorporating exercise into a daily routine, and finding ways to lessen technology use. While these are all proven to have a positive effect on your overall physical health, there’s a way to maintain a healthier state of mind as well: music. Mental health is just as important as physical, and there are many benefits to including more music in your life.
Elevate Your Mood
Have you ever noticed how happy you feel when you listen to certain music? There’s a reason for that. Researchers from McGill University in Montreal conducted a study and found that when participants listened to music they enjoyed, dopamine was released in their brain. This chemical is known as the ‘feel-good hormone’ and is associated with feelings of euphoria and motivation. However, even listening to sad music when you’re feeling down can help improve your mood. Researchers from the Free University of Berlin found that listening to sad music has a positive effect on your well-being. When you hear lyrics you relate to, you feel a sense of validation knowing you’re not the only one struggling through a difficult time. Sad music can also help you release feelings you have bottled up, thus promoting a lighter, more content mood.
Relieve Your Stress
The same way music can enhance your mood, it can also decrease your feelings of anxiety and stress. Listening to music with calming tones, such as classical or jazz, will help lower your cortisol, the hormone responsible for your response to stress. Jazz, in particular, has the power to affect the type of brain waves you produce, which will increase relaxation and soothe your mind. Unwind with the calming tunes of Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green” or let your mind drift away for a bit and listen to “Almost Blue” by Chet Baker.
Change Your Perception
You may not realize it, but the type of music you listen to affects the way you see the world. According to researchers at the University of Groningen, when you’re listening to happy songs, you are more likely to notice positive things and people around you. Likewise, sad songs will make you more in tune with anything somber, keeping you rooted in your sadness. Music is a powerful tool in inciting a certain point of view or action, which is why it’s used to bring people together in times of hardship, invoking a feeling of solidarity and a positive outlook.
Improve Your Productivity
If you’ve always felt you couldn’t listen to music while doing work, it might be because of the type of music you were listening to. Certain tunes can be distracting, making it harder to get things done. Jazz is a great choice if you have a hard time working in silence, but don’t want to lose your focus. The absence of irregular patterns and vocals combined with upbeat tempos helps stimulate your mind without stealing too much of your attention. If you don’t know where to start, check out “Steppin” by McCoy Tyner or “Adoracao” by Eric Reed.