If you want to firm up your body, head to the gym. If you want to exercise your brain, listen to music.
There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does. If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.
Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.
The Brain-Music Connection
Experts are trying to understand how our brains can hear and play music. A stereo system puts out vibrations that travel through the air and somehow get inside the ear canal. These vibrations tickle the eardrum and are transmitted into an electrical signal that travels through the auditory nerve to the brain stem, where it is reassembled into something we perceive as music.
Johns Hopkins researchers have had dozens of jazz performers and rappers improvise music while lying down inside an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine to watch and see which areas of their brains light up.
Music is structural, mathematical and architectural. It’s based on relationships between one note and the next. You may not be aware of it, but your brain has to do a lot of computing to make sense of it.
Music provides a means of escape. Music distracts your minds from the outside world. The use of music as background entertainment serves to get you into a positive mood or to become more alert. Music can relax the body because brain waves are able to synchronize with the rhythm of a song. People’s moods can reflect what they choose to listen to. Fast or energetic music may make people feel alert and pumped, while slow music calms them down. For example, the music is fastest and loudest at lunchtime and then begins its slow descent into the early evening.
It Can Help to Improve Your Memory
Have you ever come across a student listening to music while studying? Perhaps you find the idea quite foolish since the music will only distract you from reading, right? Wrong! So, what’s the reasoning behind this? Well, scientists have found out that music induces a state of meditation and relaxes the brain. This allows the brain to be more disengaged and freer of debris that might make you not remember a lot of things. If you want to pass that test or exam, listen to music while studying.
It Can Help Reduce Anxiety
Music is currently being used as a therapy to treat patients who suffer from anxiety. Have you ever noticed that you suddenly feel more at ease when you feel anxious and start listening to music you like? This is because the chemical, prolactin, helps to elicit feelings of comfort. This means that listening to music when you feel anxious can immediately make you feel more relaxed. In using music to treat anxiety, be sure to use music you actually enjoy.
Music Makes You Happier
Research has proven that your brain releases dopamine when you listen to music, which is a “feel good” neurotransmitter. When you listen to music you like, a large amount of dopamine is released and causes you to experience emotions like excitement, joy, and happiness. Next time you feel sad, listen to your favorite song for a few minutes and watch yourself get happiness high.