Who doesn’t love listening to one of their favorite tunes every now and then? Everyone knows that music is a great way to add a bit of zest to your day, but did you know that it can actually benefit your mental health? It’s especially true later in life when we can never have too much mental stimulation. Learn more about why and how music boosts the brain right here.
At first, it might seem evident that music is good for the brain. After all, it makes us feel good to listen to it. However, scientists are only just beginning to understand exactly why music is so good at lifting our spirits.
Part of the reason has to do with the fact that music is structural and even mathematical. Musicians will be able to tell you that notes are all interrelated, much like a math equation. While to regular listeners, it might not sound all that complicated, the truth is that our brains love the kind of complexity that music brings.
The other reason for music’s brain-boosting effects is that it activates more than one part of the brain at once. In fact, it’s great at activating many brain centers, which makes it great at building neural pathways.
There have been many studies that look at the effects of music on the brain. One recent study by AARP has brought some interesting findings on how it can impact our emotional and cognitive health.
While there’s plenty of research that can show us how music benefits our brain, how does that translate into real life? Take a look at some of these everyday benefits to see what a difference it can make.
While any music can boost creativity, experts say that the best way to unleash your artistic side is to listen to something new. That could be anything from your grandkid’s music to older genres you’ve never really listened to. Just like with travel or new friendships, introducing your brain to new experiences lets us face challenges from a fresh perspective.
While new music is a great way to stimulate your mind, listening to something more familiar is perfect for relaxation. In fact, it’s a good idea to have a few of your favorite songs close at hand for when you need a simple way to unwind. Even if the music itself isn’t particularly relaxing, the familiar sounds can quickly put your brain in its happy place, alleviating depression and anxiety.
Since music is so good at stimulating your brain, it can actually go a long way toward improving your memory. This is especially true when combined with exercise. By adding both to your regular routine, you can keep your body and mind fit!
Another benefit of familiar music is that it can help you reach forgotten memories. If there are particular times in your life you’re interested in reconnecting to, finding a song that you listened to at that time can be the perfect way to do it. Think of songs you listened to on your first date with your spouse, your marriage, or other important life events.
Of course, the best way to really enjoy music is to dance to it. Whether you’re looking to try out a dance step, do a little aerobics, or just enjoy some gentle, rhythmic motion, music is just the thing. It can be the perfect way to give you the motivation you need to get your daily dose of exercise.
If you’re looking for the perfect exercise pairings for your favorite song, try one of these home cardio machines.
Since music activates many parts of the brain at once, it’s great at strengthening your neural pathways. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it?” Well, this couldn’t be more true of our cognitive functioning, which stays strong only to the extent that we make use of it. While a range of different mental tasks is the best way to achieve this, music is a key ingredient to mental stimulation.
There’s a reason why college kids rely on music to get them through long study sessions. Music is a great way to help you tune out the rest of the world and tune into the task at hand. If you have something that needs your undivided attention, music may be just the thing you need. Of course, it’s important to choose the right kind of music to get the job done. Stick with something without lyrics, like classical.
Whether you go to a concert, buy an album, or listen to the radio on your way to the grocery store, finding ways to incorporate music into your life is essential. It’s not only one of the most effective ways to stimulate your mind but also the most fun. Never stop seeking new ways to incorporate new and old music into your regular routine and reap the rewards!