How do you improve your mood? Such a question might elicit a range of responses. You may receive answers such as: talking to a close friend or family member, going for a walk, exercising, cuddling a pet, getting a massage, etc. Sooner or later you’re bound to encounter the response ‘I listen to music’.
When listening to music you enjoy, whatever it may be, your brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is a ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter that is released by the brain during a pleasurable activity. Yes, that includes sex, drugs, gambling, food and all manner of pleasures, both good and bad! In one study researching “moving music and dopamine release” David Huron, a music cognition researcher at Ohio State University, Columbus reported that “the findings suggest that, like sex and drugs, music may be mildly addictive”. Well, I’m happily addicted!
The benefits of music include:
Enhanced creativity – lose yourself in music and you may just find a solution to a challenge you’re facing or inspiration to try something new.
Improved workouts – music can motivate us to achieve better results in our workouts, lift more, run faster, and complete those last two push-ups.
Spiritual wellness – listening to divine mantras can be profoundly calming and uplifting. This is a practice that I have recently been introduced to and thoroughly enjoy.
Recollection of memories – music can take us back to a time and place almost as powerfully as our sense of smell can.
Relaxation – calming music can help to slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Combine this with some deep breathing and focus on being mindful and the benefits may be almost as good as meditating.
Induced sleep – listening to music with binaural beats can help your brain relax and help you fall asleep more easily.
Spa, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert, Spa Consultant, Speaker and Founder of Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe magazine