How Music Affects Mood and Well-Being
Music cannot cure all health problems, but it can help boost your mood, fight stress, and manage pain. Here are 5 ways how music affects mood.
Areas of the Brain Simultaneously The brain processes sounds in the auditory cortex, located in the temporal lobe. Signals come here through the ears, are converted into information, and cause some kind of reaction. For example, when we hear a sudden car horn, we instinctively look around because we expect danger. Music is no exception.
But, unlike noise, when listening to music, other parts of the brain are also connected, which are far from solving purely sound problems. It affects, among other things, the areas responsible for emotions, memory, and movement. Because of the latter, for example, people begin to sway to the beat of the music. And goosebumps from songs appear from the fact that at this time the same parts of the brain are connected that are responsible for the pleasure of sex and delicious food.
In addition, music is a good brain trainer. It constantly compares signals from the environment and makes predictions. When listening to music, the brain habitually builds guesses: it predicts the next note and tries to track patterns in rhythm. As a rule, compositions are complexly structured and constantly throw up surprises.
This also applies to seemingly simple pop music: different sound effects, tempo, many instruments, vocals – the brain has something to do. When hunches are correct, reward systems kick in. This is what happens when forecasts fail. And at that moment, you admit to yourself that the song is hooked, and add it to your playlist.
2. Regulates Emotions
Empathy is built into the human brain. The mirror neural system is responsible for this process. Because of it, in particular, when we see a person who is sad, we experience similar emotions. The same mechanism allows people to adopt the mood inherent in the musical composition. In addition, the brain is able to distinguish between minor and major melodies.
Research shows that happy songs make people feel happier. But this does not mean that you need to exclude all sad ballads from the playlist. They are also able to bring pleasure and allow you to painlessly throw out negative emotions. The same effect is observed when listening to hard rock. And, say, at a live concert, mirror neurons can read both the effect of music and the energy of other people.
Therefore, if you feel that you need to seriously recharge your internal battery, you can go to a performance. A new music space for 7,000 people VK STADIUM has recently opened in Moscow: up to a hundred events a year are promised to be held here. In between concerts, you can listen to a playlist on VK Music: the service has organized several projects with stars, and more than a hundred artists have collected personal collections with their favorite songs.
3. Helps Fight Stress
The hormone cortisol is responsible for stress levels. It, in conjunction with the sympathetic nervous system, triggers many physiological reactions, such as increases in pulse rate, blood pressure, and adrenaline production. Music can help fight stress, regardless of genre.
First, it lowers cortisol levels. Secondly, it helps to distract from negative events and thoughts. Coupled with the ability to regulate emotions through reward mechanisms, melodies really do bring relief. Another study that assessed the effect of music on people in fast-food cafes found that it can protect against overeating, which is also one of the markers of stress.
When looking for music to prevent stress, it is important to choose a tune with the right rhythm. The sensation of rhythm is a biological process that takes place in the brainstem. Humans tend to synchronize with repetitive cues. Because of this, for example, on a walk, a person sooner or later begins to step in time with his partner.
Songs also pass through the brainstem, so listening to a soothing melody can help you calm down. Some studies have found that listening to music can be a good adjunct in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
4. Increases Productivity
And both physically and mentally. Music in the gym distracts from fatigue and increases stamina. This happens due to the influence of rhythm on the body: the body synchronizes with the melody and tries to maintain a given pace. To regulate mental performance, you can use the Iso method. It lies in the fact that before solving a large problem, you need to consistently listen to compositions with a gradually increasing rhythm.
Experts from the field of music therapy say that this way you can enter the working mode, even if a person woke up tired. In addition, music distracts from external stimuli. The brain is wired to pay attention to any environmental stimuli. This helped the ancestors of people in survival.
Even if you are focused on an important task, the brain will still be distracted by something insignificant, such as noise outside the window or a ticking clock. To prevent this from happening, you can turn on calm music with a clear rhythm: it will clog your unconscious attention and it will be easier for you to work on the desired task.
5. May Reduce Pain
Numerous studies show that music can provide relief in the post-operative period. It also helps fight chronic pain. The secret lies in the fact that melodies affect many different parts of the brain at the same time. For example, they stimulate the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which itself has an analgesic effect. Or they can lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which can increase discomfort.
Music also affects emotions and memory, causing pleasant associations in the head – this can also distract from the disease. For example, studies show that a playlist compiled by patients themselves is more effective than one that doctors have chosen for them.
At the same time, one should not overestimate the importance of music and replace it with full-fledged treatment. It can only be used as maintenance therapy.
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