Anybody who listens to music for any length of time may inherently sense that music can impact our lives in a very real way. It can affectour mood, how we feel, and our ability to relax or concentrate. Music is part of what makes us human – it’s a unique art form that can either lift you up and make you feel joyful and upbeat, or turn a bright day blue and leave you feeling introspective and melancholy.
You may be surprised to learn that listening to music in all of its different forms has been shown to have some very real and lasting effects on your health, your physical performance, and it can even make you smarter. You probably understand that music can help relax you or help you fall asleep (there is reason why so many people nod off while listening to classical music).
But did you know that music can also offer pain relief for people suffering from chronic pain, or painful conditions, like migraines? Stroke patients who listen to their favorite pop tunes, jazz or classical music have also been shown to have shorter recovery times then patients who don’t. Music can evenboost your immune function, and have an anti-seizure effect on some people, especially children.
One of the most fascinating aspects that music can have on us is its ability to enhance higher brain function, such as improving reading and literacy skills, or memory performance. This is sometimes called the Mozart effect, because it is believed that listening to classical music such as Mozart would make you smarter.
As it turns out, listening to any music you personally enjoy has the effect of improving cognitive performance, as well as improving your attention span and ability to concentrate. Studies have shown that some types of music are great for helping us recall memories and information. This means that information studied while listening to a particular kind of music or song can often be recalled simply by playingthe song in your head – the music and the memory are linked.
However, it’sbest if the music doesn’t have a vocal component or else you may end up remembering the words in the song, not the information you had been learning.
Music can also be instrumental (yes, pun intended) for those looking to increase physically endurance as well as mental prowess. Listening to upbeat music canmotivate you to get out of your seat and moving. That’s the feeling you get when you are at a wedding reception, party or a dance club when the DJ switches songs, and suddenly everyone is up moving and dancing.
There’s just something innate in the music itself, the beat, the vibe, that entices people to move. It’s similar to the effect that an iPod loaded with great tunes can have on your workout. Listening to upbeat music while you exercise can energize you and help you push yourself a little harder or further. The music can negate some of the feelings of fatigue and give you something to focus on besides what you are physically enduring.
If you enjoy exercising at the gym or going for a run, listening to upbeat tunes can get you pumped, and motivate you to run that extra mile or do another repetition with the weights. Or even just to get off the couch and go for a walk.