So let me start this out by saying that I have always had a love for music, as most people probably have. As a child, I was a competitive dancer and loved to make music using my tap shoes, and later on, I played the piano. When I was in middle school and high school, I did choir and show choir, and over the years, I have often looked to positive, uplifting music to help me boost my mood.
Lately, my roommates and I have been trying something new… there is this ADORABLE little café in our town that has an open mic night on Wednesday evenings. Basically, a bunch of elderly men and angsty teenagers bring out their guitars, ukuleles, tubas, tambourines, egg shakers, violins, etc., and play their hearts out on a little stage in the front of the place. And let me tell you. We’ve been going for the past five weeks (so far) with no end in sight. My. Heart. Is. Opening. At. A. Very. Rapid. Rate.
Yes, I do my very best to write in my gratitude journal (see more about why I love my gratitude journal here), practice mindfulness (read about that here and here), read uplifting things, and spend time with the people I love. However, after my Wednesday nights spent at the café, I leave with an ear-to-ear smile and a heart full of love. The joy brought to me by open mic night is like no other.
It’s got me thinking… what is it about music that makes me feel so dang good? Is it something that can be explained by science, or is it a phenomenon that can only be felt in the soul? How far-reaching are the benefits of listening to music? Here’s what I found:
1. Music actually does make you happier!
Scientifically speaking, music can induce a natural high in people by causing the brain to increase dopamine production, which is a neurotransmitter that brings feelings of joy.
2. Music can help ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
This one makes sense considering the above point. More happiness = less depression and anxiety, right? It’s all about the neurotransmitters that are released in the brain when people listen to music.
3. Music can improve your quality of sleep.
There was actually a study done in 2008 that found that listening to classical music helped to ease the symptoms of insomnia. Who doesn’t like to sleep well?
4. Music can make you healthier.
When you listen to music, the levels of stress hormones in your body decrease. Since a great deal of physical problems are related to stress, lowering the levels of these hormones can potentially help you avoid quite a bit of illness and disease.
5. Music can curb your appetite.
Okay—I like to stress eat as much as anyone else. But if you’re looking to step away from the practice of stress eating, research has shown that listening to music while eating may help you consume fewer calories.
6. Music can improve your memory and ability to learn.
Certain studies have found that listening to music can help you more easily recall information (and learn new information!). Bonus points if, on top of listening to music, you also play an instrument or two.
7. Music can take your pain away.
And not just emotional pain—physical pain, too. Music has been found to reduce pain in cancer patients, as well as geriatric and intensive care patients.
These are just a few benefits of listening to music. As for me… I’m going to keep stopping into that cute little café for open mic night. I hope you can find a way to let more music into your life, too! If there’s something sad you’ve been holding onto, music can help you open your heart again. Trust me from experience on this one.
How does music impact your life? What kind of music makes you feel the best? Let me know in the comments!