Music has long been part of the human race’s history. Music helps tell our stories, shares our pain, our chances at love, and becomes the perfect escape when the burdens of life are overwhelming. With all of this in mind, it’s not hard to believe that music can also have mental and physical health benefits.
Music Can Help With Your Goals
The effect that music can have on our mind and body is an interesting topic, especially when looking at how music is used in public settings. The music you hear while sipping some coffee and enjoying a baked good at your favorite cafe is not by mistake.
Because music has been shown to affect our eating habits, establishments like restaurants and coffee shops use soft, ambient music. This helps create a calming, comfortable atmosphere and as some studies have shown, certain kinds of music also influences the kind of food we eat.
Through a variety of experiments, it was shown that people are 10% more likely to make healthier choices, in terms of food and drink, when music is quieter. Music can promote eating less and encourage people to pick fewer processed food choices. A lot of processed food can have artificial ingredients, fat, and sodium added to it. Depending on your health goals, such as weight loss or clean eating, it can be helpful to have the right music playing. Avoid loud tunes at dinner time and stick with a more slow-tempo beat and see if your habits change at all.
Music as a Form of Therapy
Music is therapeutic. It often conveys a variety of feelings and emotions to its listeners. This, in turn, can inspire emotional responses and connections. This has been very helpful for those surviving trauma, substance abuse, and depression. Music can lead to better communication by helping those who have a hard time verbalizing their feelings and thoughts. It can also help people form stronger bonds with their therapist and peers when going through rehabilitation programs.
Music also can help those recovering from substance abuse sustain healthier habits. For example, some people who abuse drugs like cocaine use it for the instant alert high it can give, even though, cocaine actually makes you tired in the long run. In place of these kinds of drugs though, many can choose to utilize motivational, upbeat music to help them stay alert. Moreover, those who once used alcohol or drugs to cope can instead use music to relax and develop safer coping mechanisms.
Music as the Ultimate Motivator
Another way music can impact us mentally and physically is through motivation. Thanks to advancements in technology, most of us carry around the perfect portable music collection on our phones. This has made it much easier to incorporate music into various daily activities. Exercise is one great example.
With music and technology teamed-up, our smartphones and other devices can help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. In the same realm of music motivating us to make better dietary choices, it can help us push through our workouts. Unlike when you’re eating though, loud, fast-tempo music is best.
At Highsnobiety, they do a great job breaking down the benefits of music during your exercise routine. They explain, “the body naturally tends to synchronize its movements with music and its rhythms, so the right kind of playlist will help maintain your stamina for longer periods and cause you to speed up and slow down following the songs you’re listening to.” The right music can also elevate your mood and make it easier to get into a flow. This is ideal for exercising, doing house chores, or while at work.
Music Can Carry the Stress Away
With COVID-19 and a laundry list of other current issues, shaking up the world as we know it, our everyday lives have become pretty stressful. Luckily, music has been shown to help. Mankind has been using music to help manage stress throughout history — and with good reason. Research shows that music can significantly help with the management of anxiety, blood pressure, and stress levels.
These days, with plenty of music streaming apps available, there are numerous de-stressing playlists that anyone can listen to. Of course, you can always curate your own playlist if you prefer. Remember Highsnobiety’s point about synchronization? Similar to our response to music while working out, the right rhythm (around 60 beats per minute to be exact) can encourage relaxation as our brainwaves synchronize with the beat. Music coupled with the right atmosphere can even help you fall asleep. This kind of mental health aid that music provides is invaluable, particularly during a pandemic. It’s even become an invaluable part of professional therapy.
As time goes on, music and its mental and physical health benefits will only continue evolving. From helping us get through life’s toughest moments to celebrating our greatest accomplishments, music is often a major part of our lives. Whenever you feel down, stressed, or simply unmotivated try turning to music more often and see just how it can change your life.