Music is the medicine of both mind and soul—and neuroscience agrees. Studies show music can reduce anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, and even help ease pain.
Bob Marley once said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
Music also improves sleep, mood, and memory, and enhances many brain functions, such as learning and concentration. Music stimulates not only certain brain areas; it stimulates your entire brain. It’s a total brain workout.
Let’s look at some of the latest findings on how music affects your brain.
Music, Stress & Depression
All studies done on music say that it lowers the stress hormone, cortisol.
One study on patients who were about to undergo surgery found that those who listened to music were less anxious and had lower cortisol levels than the ones who didn’t.
Music releases dopamine, which makes us feel happy. Consistent and higher levels of dopamine improve concentration, lift your mood, and enhance memory and learning capabilities.
Studies also show that listening to music constantly decreases depression and fills people with hope. One study even shows that music can aid in healing brain traumas.
Listening to music with other people releases oxytocin, a hormone that’s responsible for increasing trust and strengthening the social bonds between people.
Music therapy is often a treatment recommended for people with severe depressive symptoms.
Music, Cognition, and Learning Capabilities
Music can make you smarter.
Studies show that listening to music enhances reading and literacy skills, makes you more reasonable, and increases mathematical abilities. That’s why experts recommended learning to play a musical instrument, especially at a young age.
It’s important to note that the type of music should match the type of task. For example, pop songs are not compatible when building reading comprehension. Choose the best type of music for each mission. Of course, the best music is the one you’ll listen to. Experiment with different genres of music as you work on various tasks and find which style fits you best.
Music & Memory
Studies show that music is great for enhancing long-term memory. One study on the effect of hearing familiar music found that certain brain areas, especially autobiographical and episodic memory and emotion areas, become activated when hearing familiar music or an old song.
Another study focused on mainly older people with weaker memories as test subjects. They concluded that listening to the specific tunes that they used to hear when they were younger improved their memory. It also made them remember certain events linked to the music.
A different study conducted on Alzheimer’s patients showed that music calmed their brain activity. This enabled patients to regain connection with their families and friends.
Listening to music is like exercising your brain. It can help keep your brain engaged throughout your aging process. There are few things that stimulate the whole brain like music does. It is a great way to provide your brain with a total brain workout. As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “Without music, life would be a mistake.” So, blast some music and make your life and memory even better.
For more on how music can help you learn, watch this video: