How music has a huge impact on our mental wellness.
We all enjoy music. Whether it’s playing, writing or listening, it is one of the most detrimental activities surrounding your mental health. Second only to television, music has the capability to influence our general mood. From songs that uplift and motivate you to songs that make you want to cry in the shower, music can be more powerful than you realise.
From a medical standpoint, a study from Montreal’s McGill University published in Nature Neuroscience suggested that the chemical Dopamine is released by the brain during ‘moments of peak enjoyment’. Of which a 9% increase was recorded after participants listened to their favourite music.
Dopamine also known as the 'feel-good hormone', is a chemical reaction that is dispensed during high times of pleasure and happiness. This then leads to a feeling of bliss or euphoria.
An article on WebMD explains that Dopamine is ‘a type of neurotransmitter […] it’s sometimes called a chemical messenger’. Furthermore they describe it as ‘a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan. It helps us strive, focus, and find things interesting.’
The BBC also published an article relating to the study in Montreal. They identified the chemicals other stimuli such as food, money, drugs and even the idea surrounding being in love.
Alongside this, music is known to 'relax the mind, energise the body, and even help people better manage pain.' You may not have noticed it but music can alter your mood depending on genre, artist or a sentimental connection. I mean you’ve watched Titanic right!? (If not, welcome to the realm, here’s the trailer). And when you hear Celine Dion’s classic ‘My Heart Will Go On’ your mind is instantly reminded of that heartbreaking scene when Rose let’s go of Jack’s hand.
Or have you ever listened to Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ while on a passionate sing along on a tough road trip? Our favourite songs produce that warm fuzzy feeling (By that I mean Dopamine. I do hope you didn’t skip the important educational paragraphs!!) that generally puts us in a better mood.
VeryWellMind.com released an article named 'How Listening to Music Can Have Psychological Benefits.' In this, author Kendra Cherry lists a number of reasons listening to music is important to the general well-being of our psyche. These are the following aspects that she mentions music can do;
- Improve Cognitive Performance.
- Reduce Stress
- Help You Eat Less
- Help Improve Your Memory
- Can Help Manage Pain
- May Help You Sleep Better
- Improve Motivation
- Improve Mood
- Reduce Symptoms of Depression
- Improve Endurance and Performance
So here’s a thought. Next time you’re feeling low, alone or simply overwhelmed, switch on the radio, or open Spotify, or whatever music platform you listen too. (This includes you oldies who still use CD’s, Tapes or even Vinyl). Listen to something you like. Whether that’s classic, pop, rock, country or classical! I guarantee it will make you feel better!
Written by Siobhan Lansdowne