Music impacts emotions, here is how you can benefit

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Music is an art that is deeply rooted in almost every culture. It is a way to express oneself emotionally, and one can have deep connections to certain music pieces or genres. It can be enjoyed as a hobby or pastime as much as it can be enjoyed as an artform. Regardless of one’s taste in music, countless studies have shown that engaging with music can reap wellness and mental health benefits — something each of us can apply to our own life.اضافة اعلان

Improved cognitive function
Our brain is always hungry for information. It is constantly processing information collected by our senses and determining what is useful and what is irrelevant. The process is completely subconscious and happens in fractions of a second.

However, the mind is like a muscle; you need to exercise it to maintain it. By listening to music, you can strengthen your mind with a flow of new information.

Many studies have been conducted on the effects of music on cognition and nearly all of them have shown that music has a positive effect across different areas. These improvements to cognition are best seen when music is played in the background while performing a separate task.

A 2013 study tested the effects of music on cognition when performing a primary task and having music in the background. This study found that those who listened to upbeat music in the background had improvements in processing speed. Additionally, it found that both upbeat and downbeat music can also improve memory.
The mind is like a muscle; you need to exercise it to maintain it. By listening to music, you can strengthen your mind with a flow of new information.
It is important to note, however, that the music must not be distracting as that can hinder the formation of memories for the primary task. It is suggested that music with beats instead of lyrics is preferable. This study also found that the memory of participants who were musically trained benefited most from neutral music, while those who were not trained benefited from the emotions positive music elicited.

These benefits to cognition not only help in daily life, but also in the long-term. As we age, our cognition continues to improve and peaks around the age of 30. From that point on, we may begin to experience overall slowness in thinking and difficulties sustaining attention, multitasking, retaining information, and word-finding. This is known as age-related cognitive decline.

A 2017 study assessed different ways to prevent this natural decline, one of which included music. What it found is that music comprehension is one of the most deeply engrained components of cognition. In fact, memory for musical comprehension is so strong that it remains even when verbal language becomes impaired. Furthermore, over the course of four months, researchers observed that those who did not listen to music had a significant reduction in cognition compared to those who did.

Improved emotional status
Music appeals to our emotions. The emotion a musician channels through their instrument or voice has an impact on our mood. In fact, the aforementioned 2013 study noted that listening to music is a pleasurable experience. As a result, one of the primary reasons people listen to music is for emotion and mood regulation.

A 1998 study assessed the effects of different types of music on mood, tension, and mental clarity. What they found was that certain types of music can significantly improve emotions such as caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and vigor, while also significantly decreasing negative emotions such as tension, hostility, sadness, and fatigue. It is worth noting, however, that not all music types produced these effects and personal preference also plays a role in mood regulation.

As a result of these positive benefits on mood, music has been considered in managing many mood disorders such as depression. A 2015 study conducted on individuals with neurological disorders focused on managing depressive symptoms with music. Researchers chose participants with neurological disorders such epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, as depression has a prevalence rate of 20–50 percent among these individuals. The study found that music was an excellent way to manage negative emotions and depressive symptoms with the added benefit of mitigating the risks associated with many medications. It noted significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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Lastly, music can help reduce stress. Managing stress plays important to our overall well-being, as stress exists in many aspects of our life, impacting our mental health. The same positive emotions that help regulate mood can also help relieve stress. To many, music is soothing and relaxing. A 2013 study exposed participants to a stressor after listening to music, rippling water, or neither. What researchers found was that the group that listened to music had a more positive stress response. Furthermore, they found was that those who listened to music tended to recover more quickly after experiencing the stressor.

Improved sleep
Sleep is crucial to well-being. Any disruption of sleep can affect wellness and vice versa. Many studies have addressed music as a possible remedy for those with issues relating to sleep. One such study compared the quality of sleep of those who used music, an audiobook, or neither, to get to sleep. It found that, after three weeks, those who used music to help sleep had significantly improved sleep quality compared to audiobooks or nothing.

Predictor of underlying issues
An interesting aspect of music is that it can potentially be used to gauge our mental status. In response to a double suicide in 2007, researchers conducted a study in 2008 to determine whether music preferences could indicate underlying health issues in youth. While music genres inherently do not induce particular behaviors, listening to certain genres could predict potential risk, according to the study.

Researchers found that heavy metal music was correlated with a range of antisocial behavior and other emotions including feeling disconnected, a lack of stable identity, and low self-esteem. Particularly in young women, heavy metal was associated with self-harm and suicidal thought. Similarly, rap music correlated with antisocial behavior, anger, violence, and misogyny. Again, it is important to note that these types of music do not cause or increase the risk of these behaviors but instead the study suggests that they may show an underlying vulnerability or risk. Nevertheless, the aforementioned benefits are tied to personal music preferences.

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