5 Ways in Which Music Can Naturally Improve Mental Health

How is it that even when you haven’t heard a song for years, you instantly can remember all the lyrics when you hear it again? Both playing and listening to music present great benefits to our overall health. Music relaxes us, relieves tension, and excites us. Music greatly enhances happy moments and can also help us get through sad, difficult times in our lives. What most people don’t realize is that music actually improves brain functionality. Here are 5 ways in which music naturally improves your mental health:

1. Music Changes Our Perception of Time

We’ve all been in a situation that seems like it has dragged on forever! A meeting, trip to the store or a day at the DMV. At the same time, most people can recall experiences that were over before they even knew it. How we perceive time is interesting enough to say the least, but music changes it even further. Listening to music in your car while you are in traffic, for example, can help change your perception of how long you were actually in traffic for. I personally like to sing and dance in my car while I am stuck in traffic. Why not have some fun while you are stuck there anyway? It’s better than worrying or getting upset about every minute you will be late when there is nothing you can do about it. In addition to changing our perception of time, we can travel with music to a different time and place altogether, whenever we want.

“Through music we may wander where we will in time, and find friends in every century.” – Helen Thompson


2. Music Can Elicit Strong Emotional Reactions

Any music lover can think of a song or music that has affected them in a profound way. Strong emotions such as happiness, love and sadness can all be evoked from a single song! Listening to a song can bring you to tears or make you feel warm and giddy inside. This amazing ability of music to manipulate your emotions can be extremely healthy for your brain. Music can help us get in tune with our emotions and help draw out a much needed release. Many of us, are drawn to love songs when we are falling in love or songs about heartbreak after a break-up. Music can help us to live in present moments and be mindful of our current feelings, which can be very comforting and helpful . Live music especially can create an intensely therapeutic emotional reaction. The next time you are feeling low or tired, try listening to some upbeat music to alter your mood.

“Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.” – Johnny Depp


3. Music Aids in Relaxation

The acts of both playing and listening to music can further one’s ability to unwind and de-stress, which can lead to a great sense of well-being and can even lower blood pressure. Music helps us focus on the present moment and quiets the chatter of the mind, which in turn causes us to relax. It can also help make the more stressful parts of our day a bit more tolerable.

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach


4. Music Helps Us to Socialize

Social anxiety and alienation is an all too common affliction in our society, but music is something that easily brings people together. Playing or listening to music with others is a great way to help relieve the fears associated with socializing, and can help to influence the formation of positive neural pathways. It’s a lot less expensive than therapy, too.

“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.” – Maria von Trapp


5. Music Exercises the Brain

There is something magical about melody, rhythm, and beats that help our brains remember not only song lyrics, but also the history and culture of music. You can remember the lyrics, the name of the song, the artist, the name of the album, the picture on the album cover, the year the song is from, the type of music it is, where you were when you first heard the song, etc. Sometimes we can even remember all of that with just hearing the first few notes of a song! It is pretty amazing that our brains are able to retain all of this information and a lot of times recite it with little effort. This is why music actually helps exercise your brain muscles, and in turn improves your overall brain health and memory.

“Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.” – Stevie Wonder

There’s nothing more important than keeping the brain stimulated, and it appears as if learning how to play or simply appreciate music may be just the ticket.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – Plato

If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected] and/or register on our site at www.free-yourmind.com and comment on our forums!
Photo By: Todd https://www.flickr.com/photos/hryckowian/2394265741/

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