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The Healing Power of Music

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The Healing Power of Music

Roughly 50 years ago the the American rock band The Beach Boys released the single "Add Some Music to Your Day".  The lyrics sing of the universal nature of music, it's ability to bring us together, and touches upon the nurturing qualities that music brings to our lives.  The healing power of music has been known for many a year but it is only in the last ten to twenty years with the aid of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that a deeper base of research has been established that details the many health benefits of music.  By adding music to our day, as The Beach Boys suggested in 1970, we have the ability to harness these benefits and bring about positive change.

Studies have shown that  listening to music relies upon a broad neural network in the brain that includes the auditory areas of the brain as well as areas that are responsible for physical motion, emotions, cognition, memory, and creativity.  A complex process, but one that is activated simply and beautifully every time we listen to music. Studies have also shown that the sounds that we hear and listen to during the day directly affects the chemistry in our brains and can alter our mood making us feel sad, happy, energetic, empowered, depressed, excited, relaxed, etc..

When we listen to music or sounds that we find soothing it lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies, and increases the levels of the feel good hormone dopamine leading to less anxiety, less stress, a better mood and potentially lower blood pressure. The release of endorphins ( another hormone) into our blood stream while listening to music makes us happier. Endorphins also reduce pain. In fact, studies have shown that listening to music can reduce levels of  physical pain and emotional pain (e.g. depression).

Some of the other benefits of listening to music include an improvement in memory, higher levels of focus and concentration, and an improvement in one's sleep.  Music Therapists harness these many benefits to aid their patients recover from physical and emotional disabilities.  Anyone can harness these benefits by making a conscious effort to include music in their day.

Noise pollution is all around us and it is easy to become distracted and negatively affected by random noise. Including music in your day can provide some relief and can be as easy as: 

(1)  Waking up to the sound of music from your phone

(2)  Listening to music in the shower or as you get ready for the day

(3)  Listening to music on your commute to and from work

(4)  Relaxing to music in the evening

(5)  Working out or exercising to your favourite playlist

(6)  Creating personalized playlists that energize you, relax you, inspire you, lift your spirits, etc.. Creating a playlist of songs that have positive associations for you.

(7)  Going to see a live concert with friends/family

(8)  Playing or learning how to play a musical instrument 

 

 

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