Since the dawn of time, music has been an integral part of human existence. Whether it’s been used for celebration, mourning, or just for fun, it’s always played an important role in human life.
More recently, scientists have uncovered evidence that playing music can improve your mental health. If you’re looking for ways to enhance your emotional wellness, this may be something you should consider. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the main mental health benefits you can gain from playing music.
It Can Boost Your Cognitive Function
Your cognitive function is your ability to think, reason, and remember. One study found that participants who played an instrument for ten months improved their working memory skills. A study conducted at the University of California found that seniors who participated in a twelve-week music program showed an increase in hippocampal volume (which is associated with better memory performance). Playing music also helps with peoples’ long-term memory.
According to research, the act of listening to music stimulates your brain cells. It can help you learn information more easily as well as assist with memory retention. Playing an instrument has been shown to improve children’s grades in school.
If you want to learn bass guitar, for instance, you wouldn’t need to learn how to read music notation. Specialist websites can provide top bass tabs (bass tablature) that show you where to place your hands when you play. This method can help with a variety of styles, artists, and skill levels and you can even access free downloadable music apps.
It Can Help You Focus
In a study conducted by the University of Wales, researchers found that those who listened to “self-selected” music showed improved performance on tasks involving mental arithmetic compared with those who had no background noise or who listened to white noise instead.
Researchers also found that concentrating was easier for most people after experiencing upbeat musical sounds such as pop tunes, compared with low-energy sounds such as classical music.
It Can Improve Your Mood
Playing an instrument can be therapeutic for people suffering from mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Studies have shown that music therapy helped people with depression recover more quickly than those who didn’t participate in the sessions. Listening to music can also reduce people’s stress levels.
If you listen to uplifting melodies before important events such as job interviews, presentations, etc., it will help lessen anxiety and increase self-confidence.
Singing along to your favorite song releases endorphins in the brain (which make you feel happy). Music can also increase the dopamine levels in your brain and make you feel more satisfied with your life.
It Can Help You Express/Release Your Feelings
When you’re feeling stressed, frustrated, or sad, playing an instrument or singing can help express those feelings in a healthy way. This self-expression can be very cathartic and calming, and can improve your mood overall.
Playing music can provide an outlet for emotions that your brain is trying to process and understand. It’s a form of self-expression and self-understanding which isn’t very different from the reasons why people play sports or paint pictures. You may find that playing the piano makes you feel calm or that playing a drumset releases some bottled-up angst.
After you’ve played some tunes, take some time out to think about how they made you feel. Some songs may make you feel motivated or give you a sense of internal peace while others may highlight your feelings of injustice, anger or unhappiness.
It Can Help You Connect With Others
Playing music in a band or singing with friends is an excellent way to relieve stress on a regular basis. Whilst you do it you will also be forming some strong connections. Whether you’re in a band, orchestra, choir, or just jamming with friends, being part of a musical group provides opportunities for socializing, networking, and making new friends.
These connections can be very beneficial to your mental health – especially if you don’t have many friends in your offline life.
It Can Be A Form Of Relaxation And Meditation
Listening to calm, relaxing music can help you wind down after a long day and it can reduce feelings of stress and tension. Slow, soothing melodies can help lower blood pressure, heart rates and anxiety levels.
In fact, some hospitals use calming music in their pediatric wards and intensive care units. Music can help premature babies sleep and relax patients undergoing surgery.
It Can Help You Sleep
Sleep is a natural, periodic state of rest that is the result of decreased activity in the nervous system. A person normally sleeps for about one-third of their life, and adults need an average of seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
People who do not get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and depression. Lack of sleep can also lead to accidents at work or while driving. Research has shown that listening to music before bedtime leads to better sleep quality.
It Makes Exercise More Enjoyable
People who are physically fit will feel better physically and emotionally. Music is great for making exercise feel less like a chore, and it can help you to stay motivated towards achieving your fitness goals. Listening to the right kind of music during exercise makes people’s moods improve significantly which in turn causes them to exercise harder.
A study that was published in the journal Obesity found that when participants cycled and listened to high-intensity music, they burned more calories than those who didn’t listen to any type of music. The researchers believe this is because cyclists tend to increase their pace when they’re listening to upbeat songs.
As you can see there are many mental health benefits to be gained whether you listen to music or regularly play an instrument. By putting these keys into practice you will feel happier, fitter and more connected to others. You’ll be more focused and able to learn, and even your sleep will reap the benefits.