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Music and how it affects our emotions? 

As long as I remember, music has been an integral part of my life. To describe it in a more relatable way, it’s like my best friend. I don’t exactly remember how me and my best friend started being “best friends” to each other. In the exact same way, I can’t recall any exact moment when I started “vibing” with music, choosing music over any other escape, having music as a go-to mood lifter and choosing loving music. I don’t remember any certain point where I decided how much music actually means to me in my life. I bet many of you people who are reading this must feel the same about music. 

Music tends to hit us, not only humans, I mean, in fact, to all the living beings, on a deep level. Whether it is sad music that helps us feel relatable when we are going through hard times or joyful music that adds an extra bounce to your step, music is incredibly powerful. Speaking on a personal level, I remember or get reminded of some people when I play/sing a particular song. 

But, why? Why does music impact our mind, brain and mood so deeply? How is music healthy for our mental as well as physical well being? 

Let’s try to figure it out… 

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) puts forth the studies that prove Music i.e. “music therapy programs can be constructed to manage mental stress, boost memory, and even eliminate pain.” Music can also help with chronic conditions, like dementia, Parkinson’s disease, sclerosis, etc. Music is one of the few therapeutic sources which are easily available and accessible , affordable, can be played, used, performed anywhere and everywhere without so many obstacles, has no “side-effects” and is extremely safe and finally, is non-invasive. Whether you are playing music, performing it or just listening and marking the beats with your head, sleeping while the music is on, Music in any form has highly remarkable health benefits. 

Do you get that unique sensation when you listen to music you really really love ?

Few studies have discovered that music can release dopamine in two main places in the brain, the dorsal and ventral striatum. When we are having a pleasurable experience, these areas of the brain get activated and extra functional.

Now you get the reason behind that unique sensation when you listen to your favourite piece of music? 

Music also tends to have a major impact on how we perceive ourselves, the world around us and the world, in general as in society, our relationships, way of life, etc. If we are listening to happy music, a neutral object is more likely to be viewed as happy, and in an optimistic way. As I said earlier, Music can also stir up old memories without that intention, bring back old emotions that were experienced at the time, shaping how we feel in the present moment. Such as Nostalgic, sad, hopeful, happy, cherishing, etc. 

Our heart rate tends to get impacted by the beats of the song we’re listening to. When people sing together, their breathing often becomes synchronised resulting in the production and creation of positive and happy emotions. Reason behind these things is musical patterns affect our auditory cortex, which is part of the nervous system and other areas involved in memory and emotion.

Let’s have a look at some psychologically proven benefits of Music that help us maintaining our psychological as well as physical well being –

  • Various types of music can reduce stress levels and boost happy hormones in the body. They affect the autonomic nervous system. Many studies show that those who had listened to some music recovered quicker and have an advanced ability to identify the stressors. Music provides a sense of belonging and validation as well. For eg- Listening to sad songs on bad days can provide comfort, making us feel that we’re not alone in our experiences. 
  • Music stimulates various parts of the brain, and background music can improve performance on cognitive and behavioural tasks. For eg, upbeat music can improve our processing speed, workout music pushes us to work harder or for a longer period of time. This is because our bodies tend to mirror the energy of the beat and our brain and hence, our bodies become more motivated by this. Relaxing music also helps us to focus, reduce anxiety and produce calming sensations in our bodies. 
  • Music is a good memory – enhancer. We tend to forget the long texts or sometimes, even the 4 lines which we read. But we can remember the lyrics of the songs even after listening to it in a random situation or circumstance in which we are not even paying complete attention to the piece of music. This shows that music helps us in remembering things better and improves our capacity to remember.

In these ways and in many ways, music helps us in our well being. There are many studies and researches in the past which attempt to prove the relationship between music and emotions. And in the modern era as well, many people are attempting to prove this relationship scientifically, psychologically through experiments, studies and what not. 

Let us know how you connect with music and how important music is for you in the comments! 🙂 


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