Student Life

More Than a Feeling: Ways Music Can Positively Affect Your Life

Since the dawn of recorded history, music has been noted for eliciting feelings of emotion in the listener. Everyone knows that there is something quite powerful about the way a particular song can penetrate deep within the soul. In more recent years, scientific studies have shown that music can actually boost our mood and act a de-stressor, aid in concentration, motivate us in tasks like running and lifting, and have positive impacts on patients with long-term illnesses.

First let’s look at the parts of the brain which are directly affected by music:

  • Cerebellum – Creates the emotional reaction to music
  • Forebrain – Works to interpret the structure and overall meaning of a song
  • Nucleus Accumbus and Ventral Tegmental – These areas of the brain react to the sound waves of music by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, responsible for pleasant feelings
  • Medial Prefrontal Cortext – Responds to emotions and memories evoked by music

So what are some of the health benefits to music?

  • Mood Boost – Researchers at McGill University in Montreal found that listening to music deemed pleasurable by the listener induced what are called “musical chills”, which triggered the release of dopamine.
  • Focus – Classical music has been cited as a great way to increase concentration and productivity. There are claims by some researchers that music can help organize incoming information. Those that go vastly in depth cite that music’s constant beats help boost productivity.
  • Picking up the Pace – Bringing your iPod to the gym may actually be more than a fashion statement.  According to one study, listening to music increased endurance by as much as 15 percent, helping to lower the perception of effort during exercise. It also increased energy efficiency by between one and three percent.
  • Patient Health Numerous trials have shown that music can help lower heart rate and blood pressure. It can help relieve pain, anxiety and improve patient quality of life.
  • Inspire Creativity – Some proponents argue that music may actually help to clear mental blocks and boost creativity. In essence, music can awaken the productive areas of the brain to block out other distractions.

By Levi Stein

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