Music has long been known to have a powerful effect on the human mind and body. From lifting our mood to helping us relax, music has the ability to transform our mental state in countless ways. But just how beneficial is music for our mental health?
Music Meets The Mind
According to a study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation, over 70% of people in the UK believe that music has a positive impact on their mental health and well-being. This is no surprise, as the therapeutic effects of music have been recognized for centuries.
One of the most obvious benefits of music is its ability to improve our mood. Whether it’s a upbeat pop song or a soothing classical piece, music has the power to instantly lift our spirits and bring a smile to our face. This is because music activates the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals are responsible for regulating our mood and emotions, and a boost in their levels can help to reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.
A study conducted by the University of Oxford found that singing in a choir was associated with improved mental health and well-being, as well as increased social connections and a sense of community.
“He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that's what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.” - Hannah Harrington, Saving June
But music can do more than just lift our mood – it can also help us to relax and unwind. Listening to slow, calming music has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and promote a sense of relaxation. This is particularly beneficial for those who struggle with anxiety or insomnia, as it can help to create a sense of calm and promote better sleep. In a review of over 100 studies, researchers found that music therapy was effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in a variety of populations, including cancer patients, elderly individuals, and individuals with mental health disorders.
In addition to its emotional benefits, music has also been found to have a number of cognitive benefits. For example, research has shown that listening to music can improve memory and cognitive functioning, particularly in older adults. Music has also been found to enhance creativity and problem-solving skills, making it a valuable tool for anyone looking to boost their brainpower.
According to a survey conducted by the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, 84% of musicians reported that making music had a positive impact on their mental health, and 69% said that playing music helped them to cope with feelings of anxiety and stress.
But it’s not just the music itself that can have a positive impact on our mental health – the act of creating and playing music can be equally beneficial. For many, playing an instrument or singing can be a form of self-expression and a way to connect with others. It can also be a great way to reduce stress and improve self-esteem. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Melbourne found that participating in music programs was associated with improved mental health outcomes, including reduced anxiety and depression.
A song a day keeps the doctor away
So, what does this all mean for you? Whether you’re a seasoned musician or just enjoy listening to music, there’s no denying the mental health benefits of this art form. So why not make music a part of your daily routine? Whether it’s listening to your favorite tunes while you work or taking up an instrument and learning to play, there’s no better time to start reaping the mental health benefits of music. Next time you need a boost, consider turning on your favorite tunes and letting the music work its magic.