They say music soothes the soul.
With the BBC Proms beginning this evening, we thought it was the perfect time to examine this claim in more detail by delving a bit deeper into the health benefits associated with both listening to and participating in music.
There are very few people who don’t enjoy some kind of music, and when you ask them why they like it, the vast majority will probably refer to experiencing improvements in the way they feel and their wellbeing. So what is it about music that makes us feel so good and in what way does it affect our bodies?
Here are 4 health benefits of music:
Music encourages our bodies to release the feel good hormone dopamine, and supresses the release of cortisol, which makes it a great stress reliever. Music can work in a multitude of ways to achieve different effects. From throwing some shapes on the dancefloor to pop, rock or trance to lying in peaceful meditation to the sounds of classical composers. These two extremes achieve the same objectives by allowing us to forget our troubles and be transported somewhere else – improving our mental state and wellbeing if only momentarily, though often the effects last much longer.
Music is a great source of inspiration and motivation, which is why so many people listen to it while exercising or working. It can help stimulate the brain and get creative juices flowing, as well as giving us the boost we need to run that extra mile or pick up the pace when needed. Music has also been shown to aid concentration levels by blocking out ulterior sounds and distractions, helping us to stay on task for longer.
Music is said to aid the healing process by reducing stress and anxiety and by playing a key role in pain management. This is related to the psychological effects on the brain, which distract it from pain by giving it something more positive and uplifting to focus on. Patients who listen to music during periods of pain have also been reported to suffer less with depression, as it helps them maintain a positive outlook.
Those who suffer from dementia are reported to benefit from listening to music. The familiarity and repetition of lyrics and melody has been reported to recall certain elements of a dementia patients life, enhancing both their orientation of their surroundings, raising their state of consciousness and improving their mood.