How Music Enhances Your Mental and Emotional Life
“Regardless of the type of music you choose to listen to, your mindset will be positively affected by it.”
Imagine two scenarios. In the first, the alarm sounds, stirring you from a peaceful slumber with a soothing melody that gradually gets louder and more energetic. You feel refreshed, ready to take on the day.
Now imagine this: the alarm sounds, but this time, it’s a loud buzzing sound. You groan and roll over. It's difficult to even get out of bed, let alone get ready for the tasks ahead.
Now imagine the second scenario: your alarm clock rings, but this time, it’s a loud buzzing sound. You groan and roll over. It’s difficult to even get out of bed, let alone get ready for the tasks ahead.
Can music really have this big of an impact in your life?
“Sound in any way, shape, or form often provides emotional context,” Steve Milton, a founding partner at one of the largest music/sound companies in Silicon Valley, told The Ringer.
The article explores the budding competition of creating the perfect alarm clock sound, but boils down to a simple point: music can significantly enhance your mental and emotional life.
It’s not the only source making that claim. Through the years, a number of studies have sought to understand how music affects your attitude, regulates your mood, and enhances your learning ability.
MUSIC'S IMPACT ON MOOD REGULATION
Decades of research leave little doubt: listening to music does affect your mindset. Depending on the type of music you listen to, you have the ability to shift your mood from sad to happy, tense to relaxed, or tired to energized—and vice versa.
We have the power to change and regulate the way we feel simply by listening to a certain genre of music.
This effect is even felt by people with debilitating neurological disorders. Patients suffering from disorders like strokes, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy have an up to 50% higher chance of depression, but a 2015 meta analysis of 25 studies discovered that music therapy plays a significant part in reducing volatile and depressive moods.
The effects on mood are most pronounced when listening to upbeat music. In fact, a 2013 study found that just two weeks of listening to this type of music improved the measured happiness of subjects significantly.
The study, performed by a doctoral student at the University of Missouri, also found that we can intentionally listen to upbeat music to make ourselves feel better and produce the same result.
Participants with the explicit goal of improving their mood actually saw more positive effects than those who simply listened to the same tunes with no specific goal in mind.
“(The) research suggests that we can intentionally seek to make mental changes leading to new positive experiences of life. The fact that we’re aware we’re doing this has no detrimental effect.”
Astoundingly, even sad music can have the same effect. Researchers from universities in the UK and Finland found, just this year, that most typical responses to any type of music were overwhelmingly positive and resulted in a lift of the test subjects’ moods.
Regardless of the type of music you choose to listen to, your mindset will be positively affected by it.
Of course, mood regulation is about more than just feeling happy. In fact, music can also be an important part of the grieving process.
A study led by De Montfort University Leicester worked with 450 participants and found that “the only real way to move on and feel better is by accepting the situation… people were able to do this by listening to sad music, but not so much by listening to happy music.”
HOW MUSIC MAXIMIZES YOUR LEARNING ABILITY
It’s not uncommon to see students buried in their books studying while music is playing in the background or on their wireless headphones. And there’s a reason for that. An increasing amount of research points to certain types of music being especially beneficial for maximizing your ability to learn and retain information.
A landmark 1995 study by John Hopkins University noted that music can be particularly effective in three types of educational settings: information learning, attention building and keeping, and personal expression/creativity.
Although 20 years have passed since this study was published, researchers continue to find new evidence to support these theories.
Music enhances our performance in each of these areas because of its ability to simultaneously stimulate and soothe our minds and help us get into a cognitive rhythm that allows us to better learn and absorb new information.
This explain why we use songs to help us remember or memorize information, for example, the alphabet. Music stimulates our brains to the point where we’re able to more easily recall even complicated facts and figures.
As this article from the University of Southern California points out, classical music is especially effective in achieving that goal. Bach, Brahms, Mozart, and others (but not Beethoven) can be particularly useful tutors in helping you ace that next exam.
Research indicated that not only did classical music reduce anxiety but it also helped to bring students into a “heightened emotional state, making them more receptive to information.”
A recent article in Neuroscience News points to the reason for these positive effects. The key is a term called neuroplasticity, which “describes the brain’s ability to adapt and change as a result of training and experience over the course of a person’s life.”
Music, according to numerous studies cited in the article, both improves neuroplasticity and helps to build a more stable nervous system that improves learning ability, regardless of age or discipline.
Researchers at Stanford University found similar results. Their study looked at the brain activity of participants listening to classical music, and discovered something remarkable:
“Music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions, and updating the event in memory. Peak brain activity occurred during a short period of silence between musical movements—when seemingly nothing was happening.”
In other words, music doesn’t just impact our ability to learn while we listen to it. Its effects actually increase in the pauses, while our brains have time to ‘recharge,’ proving that our minds remain engaged even after the music has stopped.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF MUSIC'S BENEFITS
In short, music can and does impact your mental and emotional life—even when you don’t realize it. From regulating your mood to enhancing your learning ability, its uses extend far beyond the temporary enjoyment of a single song.
Your SoundWhiz earbuds may not be able to replace your prescription drugs, but they will enhance multiple facets of your everyday life.
In fact, simply putting on your Bluetooth workout headphones may be enough to lift your mood or help you study for that big test.
The power of music is what brought us into this business, and the holiday season is an especially great time to reap the emotional and mental benefits music can have during this busy and stressful time.
You might even see SoundWhiz wireless headphones and sports earbuds on many of the top Christmas Guides for 2017. To start taking advantage of the tangible benefits of music in your life, find the options here for SoundWhiz products on Amazon.
Headphones for Health! Here’s to yours.
- Ellen Recla