WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN MUSIC & OUR HEALTH?
Most of us can probably name at least one song that holds significant emotional meaning – whether it be your wedding song, the song played at your loved one’s funeral, or that one song that reminds you of someone you love. Music has the ability to make us feel a range of emotions, both good and bad, and there is a very good reason for that. Music is able to activate almost every region and network in our brain and keep them strong. The only other experience that comes close to stimulating the same amount of regions in the brain, is social interaction. (Harvard, 2020) The brain regions stimulated by music are in charge of our well-being, learning, cognitive function, quality of life, and even happiness. (Harvard, 2020) Listening to music has the ability to actually change the brain and the neurochemicals that are in charge of brain function and mental health. (Healthline, 2020) Feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin are all released while listening to music, while stress hormones such as cortisol are reduced. (Healthline, 2020) Those feel-good hormones help us regulate our mood, lower anxiety, increase energy levels, and encourages connectivity and relationship building with others (Healthline, 2020). With studies in recent years highlighting the significance of music on mental well-being, it’s no wonder why popularity in music therapy is rising amongst mental health professionals and that more people want to partake in music and art therapy.
HOW DOES MUSIC HELP OUR MENTAL HEALTH?
Think about the times and places we listen to music, and how different those experiences would be without it. Have you ever gone to the gym and forgotten your headphones? For a lot of people, working out without music is near impossible. This is because music acts as an energy and mood booster and we are more likely to enjoy working out when we have it. Now think about parents singing lullabies to their babies to help soothe them. Music lowers stress levels and increases oxytocin which is the hormone responsible for creating attachment and feelings of closeness to others. A parent singing to their baby is one of the early ways their relationship can be developed. (Healthline, 2020)
Music Therapy is often used with individuals living with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia. (Harvard, 2015) This is because the parts of the brain that remember music are the last to be affected by these degenerative diseases. While it won’t stop the cognitive decline, it can slow it down and even provide relief from symptoms such as restlessness, agitation, mood swings, and anxiety in people living with Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia. (Harvard, 2020)
Given all of the health benefits that come from listening to music, it’s easy to see why so many people rely on music to get through their days. So, turn up the radio, dance to your favourite song, and share your music favourites with family and friends. We would love to hear your music recommendations at Durand Integrated Health Group, so be sure to tag us on Instagram @durandhealth with #DIHG & #durandhealth!
Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-is-music-good-for-the-brain-2020100721062
Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/music-can-boost-memory-and-mood