Music is a universal language, rich and full in and of itself. It could be a simple tune, or a great symphony, but music always finds a way to speak to each and every one of us. This very quality is what makes music such a great motivator and therapist. There’s no doubt that music benefits us in many ways, but what exactly can it do for us?
1. Ease pain
Studies have shown that people who listen to music before, during and after going through a surgery feel less pain and are more satisfied than patients who did not have music.
2. Motivate people during workouts
Listening to fast/hyped up music during your workout, whether its cardio or not, will motivate you to have increased endurance and boost your performance. This may be due to the music distracting your brain, allowing you to push further without feeling the strain.
3. Speed up recovery
Listening to music helps your body relax and calms your mind, which is a great help during your post-workout, speeding up the recovery of your muscles.
4. Improve sleep
As with the above, the calming and relaxing quality of music, especially classical music, has been shown to be able to treat insomnia in college students, thus relieving the need for drug-induced sleep.
5. Regulate diet
A study has shown that when there is music playing during a meal, people slow down their pace of eating, which leads to them consuming lesser food as the slower pace helps them recognise when they are full.
6. Enhance blood flow
As music can trigger emotions in people, studies have found that music made participants feel happier. This led to a more efficient blood vessel function, allowing for increased blood flow.
7. Reduce stress and depression
Music also helps our body release dopamine, which can reduce stress and trigger happy emotions. Studies have shown that it’s not music in general though, and that classical and meditative music are more uplifting. Whereas heavy metal and techno music on the other hand, induces greater depressive symptoms.
8. Reduce anxiety
Research has shown that listening to music can reduce your anxiety as much as a massage. Listening to music before entering high pressure situations also brings your anxiety down, allowing you to perform better during these situations.
9. Improve cognitive performance
While engaging in cognitive tasks, playing music in the background may enhance performances on these tasks. A study done in the past found that those who listened to music were able to complete more questions in the time allotted, and also getting more answers right. Music has also been used to help people with Alzheimer’s recall lost memories, and even maintain certain mental functions. However, new research has shed light that this effect is dependent on whether the music played has any effect on a person’s emotional state in the first place.
10. Helps children with autism spectrum disorder.
There have also been studies on music and its effect on children with autism spectrum disorder, and the findings showed that those who received music therapy had improvements in social responses, attention skills and communication abilities.