By Corinne Contreras
In our society, music is a common, enjoyable part of life. You get in the car, you turn on the radio. You go on a run, then you listen to music. Doing your homework? Play some study instrumental songs. Even just going through everyday life, most of us have a song stuck in our heads, or are using a pair of headphones playing music. Everyone has different music tastes, and some people feel a deeper connection to music than others. Either way, it’s a common part of life, but we don’t realize the effect music has on us. It goes deeper than whether or not we like a song. What we listen to affects our actions, language, and emotions.
A study at John Hopkins University has shown that music actually can help someone be smarter. Listening to music stimulates and engages your brain, as shown in an MRI scan where parts of the brain lit up while hearing a song. By using this to invigorate your brain, you can become a better and faster learner. In addition to this, music improves memory. One recent study proved that those who listened to music while reading or working performed and recalled ideas better than those who worked in silence.
One of the most obvious effects of music include a change in mood. The music you listen to affects how you feel. Quite simply, a happy song makes you happy, a sad one makes you sad. But these effects can be utilized in important ways that we may or may not notice we do or think about. Music can lower anxiety. Listening to a song that is soothing to you causes the body to release less stress hormones, called cortisol, and relax. So, how often do you play some music after a stressful day? It’s quite often for me. Music can improve or worsen how we feel, as well as mental illnesses like anxiety or depression.
Our bodies are also one of the main beneficiaries of music. Recent studies have shown that it can improve heart health by altering your heart rate and blood pressure depending on the type of song being listened to. Research at Shanghai University in 2018 found that music can energize you and reduce fatigue. Music can manage physical pain, and athletic performance and overall improve your health.
Although we don’t realize it, music has such a heavy impact on our lives and bodies. I love music, and so do most people. But it is so empowering to understand how beneficial this can be as just a part of everyday life.