How music changes your mood and your body

The powerful benefits of tunes you love

Silence is good. It’s centering and introspective.

The same can be said about music. Whether it is the lyrics or the beat, a song can send you deep inside or throw you out into the atmosphere. Music is good for us.

We know how music makes us feel in our body and in our thoughts -- now it’s clearer how music impacts the mind. CNN shared a couple studies showing the positive effects music has on the brain. 

 

Lowers anxiety

Daniel Levitin, a psychologist studying the neuroscience of music at McGill University in Montreal explored how music affects people about to have surgery – a known stressor. Half of the group was given music, the other half anti-anxiety drugs. The study showed that “the patients who listened to music had less anxiety and lower cortisol than people who took drugs… Levitin also showed evidence that music is associated with immunoglobin A, an antibody linked to immunity, as well as higher counts of cells that fight germs and bacteria.”

Put your earbuds in, turn the music up and let the stress fall away.

 

Music unites us

European Journal of Neuroscience conducted a study where participants listened to four symphonies by a fairly unknown composer – meaning none of the 17 participants had any prior emotional connection to the music.

The study found synchronization in several key brain areas suggesting that listeners, despite personal differences, perceive music the same way and share a common experience on a physiological level.

"It's not our natural tendency to thrust ourselves into a crowd of 20,000 people, but for a Muse concert or a Radiohead concert we'll do it," Levitin said.

"There's this unifying force that comes from the music, and we don't get that from other things." - Daniel Levitin

Next time you have the opportunity to go to a music festival, say yes. It’s one of the best ways to take yoga off your mat and unite with others.

 

How to make the most of music

  1. Pay attention to how you feel when you listen to different musical genres. Do you feel calm, anxious, happy? Just because it’s background music doesn’t mean your brain isn’t putting it into your psychological foreground. Change the station if it doesn’t feel good.
  2. Test your tastes. If you haven’t listened to solo piano, Mozart symphony, reggae, or Motown classics - try it. Not only will you give your body and brain a new beat, but you will treat your cultural tastebuds.
  3. Let the music move you. Literally. Movement and dance with music is a powerful tool to tap into your authentic self. Twirl in the middle of the room, sway and jump around -- pay no matter to people watching or feeling silly. Being in a childlike state elevates the mood and softens the shell to our core.
  4. Connect with others. Whether it’s going to a big concert, open-mic at a small cafe, or strumming the guitar around the fire, share the riches of music to feel deeper connected to those around you.
  5. Share your music. Create a playlist of the songs you love and send it to others. A playlist is like a little story about where you are in life – what moves you and what makes you feel alive.

 

Rhianna may have sang it best, “Please don’t stop the music”.

 



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