Perhaps this title seems pretty obvious. I have known very few people who don’t like music. But what I find especially awesome about music is it appears to have a healing ability.
Take, for instance, some positive effects Psychology Today says that music has, according to various studies: “…music therapy has demonstrated efficacy as an independent treatment for reducing depression, anxiety and chronic pain…music has positive physical effects. It can produce direct biological changes, such as reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels.”
The effect of causing biological changes is referring to a study done by Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin from the Department of Psychology at McGill University, Canada. The study elaborates on how music helps a stressed person calm down: “The potential therapeutic effects of music listening have been largely attributed to its ability to reduce stress and modulate arousal levels. Listening to ‘relaxing music’ (generally considered to have slow tempo, low pitch, and no lyrics) has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in …patients undergoing invasive medical procedures (e.g., surgery, colonoscopy, dental procedures, pediatric patients undergoing medical procedures, and patients with coronary heart disease)…These effects are conventionally considered to be owing to the ability of music to distract or modulate mood.” Music helps the process of healing for patients, as it calms them down. SO COOL.
Additionally, some Canadian researches, two again at McGill University, found listening to music you enjoy can release dopamine in the brain. The abstract of their experiment stated, ” pleasure in response to music can lead to dopamine release in the striatal system”. The striatal system, just FYI (in case you didn’t already know), is part of the basal ganglia, basically the part of your brain that contains “rewarding” neurotransmitters, like dopamine. So music can make you happy! Not that that’s too surprising, but it’s still great.
There have also been studies that show that listening to music can help decrease depression and anxiety. After finding evidence for this, some researchers at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France, speculated on why this might be so. They wrote,”To pursue on this meta-analysis, we found a study about the effects of AMT [Analytical Music Therapy] on depression. It is effective because active musicmaking within the therapeutic frame offers the patient opportunities for new aesthetic, physical and relational experiences. Music has effects on mood and emotional changes. Through autobiographic memory recall, it contributes to reminiscence and the sense of control of life through positive experiences. Hearing music, singing, tapping, increased attention to music and accompanies awareness of self and environment. It contributes to reconnect the patient with his environment against mood disorders like depression and anxiety increasing his quality of life.” Essentially, since music has an ability to transport our consciousness to other experiences, it helps us get out of our own heads and become less bogged down by our feelings.
These are just a few of the reasons why music rocks. Maybe it’s just because I’m going to a college where nearly everyone is a pro at some instrument or other, but I’ve begun to appreciate music so much more recently. And I think you should do.
So stop reading this and go turn on your iPod (or iPhone, who has iPods anymore?), and start listening to some tunes. It’s good for you.