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Music Up. Stress Down.

As Shakespeare once said “When words fail, music speaks.” I think that statement says it all! Music says things that sometimes we just cannot put into words - It also helps mental health in SO many ways!

From the time I was two years old I had Backstreet Boys posters plastered around my wall and I forced pretty much anyone that came over to watch the replay of the Disney Channel Backstreet concert that I recorded onto a VHS so I could watch WHENEVER I wanted - I think you could say I was a music fan from the get go. Or at least a boy band fan girl. Music has always spoken to me in a way that nothing else did! I find it crazy how music can bring people together, it can change your mood and did you know that it can actually improve your health?

You don’t have to ask me twice to go to a concert but if I can use the excuse that it actually benefits your health - you better believe I’ll use it! I have always been interested in the psychology aspects behind the arts and why we find things appealing whether that be from color, to the way things look design wise to even music. There have been tons of studies done on music in general and here are some of things that I found super interesting from a health perspective in how music can benefit you!

Benefits to listening to music:

Music Reduces Stress

Do you ever get stressed out about something and then you put a song on and you just forget about what it is you are stressed about? I know for me certain songs or certain artists can just take me to a whole other place that relieves all the stressful thoughts and emotions and from there I can just take a step back and look objectively at the system. Stress is in everyone’s life and these days everyone is under high stress with all of the world events happening - it is hard to get away from. If we are under stress for too long our bodies can start to deteriorate and you can have long term issues that get progressively worse so it is important to find ways that work for you to relieve stress. Next time you feel yourself getting stressed - think of a song that evokes happy feelings and memories etc.

Music can evoke memories and it can also improve your memory

Do you ever hear a song that you haven’t heard in a while and suddenly you’re taken back to a totally different time? I know for me when I hear Yeah! By Usher I am instantly taken back to middle school dances. This also makes me feel happy and nostalgic - and feel all the things. According to Penn State University, music is related to movement and it activates many different parts of the brain that makes it easier to remember. By activating these different parts of the brain you are able to use different sides of the brain at the same time improving your productivity and thought process.

I was recently a part of a project that my company is working on to create a custom scent and learned that different senses including the sense of smell and hearing are processed in a part of the brain that evokes emotion. When there is an emotion attached to these different scents or sounds, you create a lasting memory and therefore when you hear them again, these emotions are brought back up.

These emotions and movement combined with the different parts of the brain that are activated when music is played make it easier to remember things. Have you ever had trouble remembering something and then put it to a song and BOOM you now remember all the presidents of the United States in order? Music is magic.

Music is Motivation

Do you ever just need to get pumped up to workout or get in a good mood before going out? What type of music do you listen to to get excited? This music can literally change your mood and cause you to be more positive and therefore motivated. Sometimes it gives you the push you need to get in the gym, get out of the house and get going or heck just get in a better mood to take on the day.

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The ancient Greeks put Apollo in charge of music and medicine

I don’t know about you but I think that it is pretty cool that the Ancient Greeks had a God specifically dedicated to not just medicine but medicine AND music. Apollo was in charge of music and medicine through Greek mythology. Doctors for years have done studies to show us that music can enhance the function of neural networks, slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce levels of stress among other things (credit to Harvard research findings). The music itself can even cause the brain to warm up so to speak to allow your brain to process information and function more efficiently. It’s all Greek to me but I think that says something to combine two amazing subjects like medicine and music with that kind of connection!

Life is short- buy the concert tickets.

I mean - that is always my motto. This is by far my favorite music fact. Concerts are literally my happy place. I have been to CMA fest (anyone who knows me knows that country music is my obsession) a total of 2 times so far and it is like heaven just being surrounded by country music in the center of music city for 4 days straight is nothing short of AMAZING. Concerts and live music bring people together in a way like nothing else. There is a sense of community that you feel with live shows that is incredible. You get to forget about your problems and stand in a room filled with hundreds of strangers all connected by their love for one artist or a song and just live in the moment. This year has been really hard with all of our senses of community and gatherings being taken away because of these crazy circumstances but I for one cannot wait to be able to get back in a room filled with music and just sing my butt off - in a very off key kind of way.

There are so many different aspects of music and the psychology behind why the music has the effects that it does that are so interesting to me. But more than that, I will always be amazed by the almost instant healing effects that music has. What music brings memories back for you or makes you happy? What songs just make you want to get up and dance? Would love to hear from you!

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