Tune into Yourself: Musical Benefits for Healthy Living

By tuning into yourself and understanding musical benefits, a healthy living and lifestyle can be achieved. Music psychology helps one understand musical behavior and experiences through how music is perceived, responded to and incorporated into everyday life. Research shows listening to certain types of music can increase one’s health by relaxing the mind, reducing stress, improving memory, managing pain, helping with sleep, and improving one’s mood and motivation. Statistically, honing in on the problems being faced and understanding the genres of music to apply to the situation can enable a healthier lifestyle after the mental strain of 2020.

The body’s emotional response to music stems from three objectives: learned associations, musical expectations, and expressive emotional movements. Learning to associate music with patterns can make certain musical sounds emotional to the viewer. These patterns tie into expressive emotional movements as music follows the behaviors of our emotions. When people are happy, they tend to approach situations quickly and more actively. Listening to a happy person walk, the steps are fast and bouncy; whereas, when someone is sad, the movement is slower, words are drawn out and lag. Music takes these cues and acts upon them creating mimicking sounds to draw on the emotions of the listener. Musical expectations within a song can produce specific emotions as well. Knowing a specific musical melody is about to happen in a favorite song can emote joy, excitement and happiness. When predicted tension in a song is heard emotions such as sadness or anxiety can consume the listeners body. 

This is the result of music engaging the brain and the peculiar cellular signals that emote emotion. Finding one’s musical taste changes in order to fit their mood is a form of coping. Human’s want a sense of connection, understanding, and community. Music provides an expressive platform enabling a bridge between the songs and personal experience to allow the brain’s motor cortex, frontal lobes, and striatum to send chemical signals within the nervous system.The brain responds to music with the same pleasure responses and same brain activity as experiments with dopamine substances and drug testing. The brain’s response is sending out nerve receptors saying music is pleasurable and the body needs more. This makes certain genres of music addictive and pleasurable.

Music Therapy has been around for decades and is now being perceived as a serious medical treatment for mental trauma. In Greek mythology and biblical stories, music was thought to help sooth and draw out evil spirits. Today those evil spirits may be referred to as depression and anxiety. Originally music acted as a form of communication and developed into a way to help with creativity, socialization, and healing. Through conductive research and experimentation, music can address physical, emotional and cognitive needs creating a therapeutic relationship with the listener. From birth to death, music is able to tap into the needs of an individual and help them connect with parts of themselves they may have forgotten. 

Modern Music Preserves Cultural Heritage for Future Generations

Based on the Nicholas Sparks novel,The Notebook, a movie classic serves as evidence of the power music holds within the brain. For those who have seen the movie, it is apparent Allie, played by Rachel McAdams, has Alzheimer’s dementia. Even though she does not remember her life, Allie is able to remember how to play the piano and proceeds to play a memorized piece without knowing she knew how to play ten minutes before. The brain is able to maintain and connect with music. By showing the scene in the movie, it is able to portray how musical therapy is able to progress noninvasively to the brain and regenerate emotional and neurological connections trauma patients have trouble accessing. By utilizing the noninvasive treatment of music in order to regain the physiological and emotional balance within the body, music therapy can reduce mental damage. 

How music impacts on our mental health 

Chromesthesia: Listening to Music in Colour 

Younger individuals are faced with mental health issues every day. One in five youth fit the criteria for lifetime brain disorders, and 17 percent experience emotional, mental, or behavioral illnesses in their lifetime. For a majority, they feel like everyone and everything is working against them including their own brains. Asking for help does not seem like an option due to the backlash mental illnesses receive. One in four youth and 90 percent of LGBTQ+ community members experiencing bullying on a daily basis. For those who act or appear different, their rate of being bullied and outcast are at an all time high. Constant negativity causes trauma to the brain because fear reduces blood flow, and living everyday in fear of being rejected for how you are different causes mental trauma and permanent damage because without blood to the brain, there is no oxygen. Music helps with coping as it gives a sense of security, community, bonding and understanding. Music has the power to engage someone’s emotions and change the brain by combining the systems in the brain. 


By actively utilizing all of the brain, music can improve cognitive performance, relax the mind, energize the body, and help with pain management. 

Music can Improve Cognitive Performance

Playing background music while the listener is primarily focused on another activity has been proven to help with cognitive tasks. By turning on upbeat music, mental performance increases thus allowing improvement in memory, and processing speeds. Listening to instrumental tracks instead of lyrical can help the music be less distracting and more soothing during work. 

Reduce Stress

Supported by research, listening to music can be an effective coping mechanism for stress. Meditative music creates a soothing and relaxing mindset. Preparing for stressful events with music helps ease the tension in the body and enforces a calming effect. This can improve an individual’s performance levels as they are able to recover from a stressor quicker. 

Playing classical or instrumental music in the mornings can help one wake up calm and focused. If a heavy, impact day is ahead, playing upbeat music can make you want to dance and smile thus helping the body focus and become energized. 

Road rage impacts every human. By playing your favorite music in the car, it can relieve tension you feel from the commute itself. It distracts from wasted time stuck in traffic and can take the mind off the checklist of to-dos needing  to be done for the day. Switching to a classical station when feeling overwhelmed helps one arrive feeling prepared to take one what awaits. The soothing rhythms place a sense of calming over the commute and mind. 

Healthier Diet

Stress eating is one of the top reasons for obesity. Simply reducing your stress levels can help cut back food cravings, so the next time you feel like emotionally eating, try a round of your favorite songs first. Music may even help you make and keep better habits.

If weight loss is the goal, listening to mellow music and dimming the lights can help achieve the goal. Eating at low-lit restaurants where soft music is played shows consumers intake 18 percent less food than those who ate at well-lit restaurants. 

Nutrition is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Eating correctly has been proven to keep stress levels down as the body is more balanced. When you find yourself too tired to cook, play smooth jazz or similar, enjoyable genres and cooking will become less like a chore. By playing music while cooking helps with motivation and enables one to savor dinner rather than eat it to eat. 

Food digestion can be triggered when soothing music helps with relaxation. By relaxing, cortisol levels decrease making the body’s response to food digestion easier. Classical music has been found to help digest food, decrease over eating, and allows for more food enjoyment. 

Pain Management

Music stimulates the brain and enhances emotions. The brain processes music with the same passageways utilized to process pain. By overriding the brain with a musical focus, pain does not have the capacity to gain attention from the brain. By playing music that helps one relax and become less anxious, pain receptors decrease in signal strength and remove the realization of pain in the body. By playing stimulating music, the brain produces the same endorphins found in a runner’s high and allows the same feel-good sensation to take over the body. Though music is not a cure for pain, it is proven to help reduce pain levels and create a better tolerance. 


Photo of Sleeping Man


Sleep Management

Getting enough sleep is important for functionality and helps reduce stress. Insomnia has an affect on all age groups and is a serious problem, and music allows for a noninvasive, calmer approach to treating the issue. Listening to relaxing classical music before bed is both a safe and affordable remedy. 

Babies who sleep with white sound noises tend to sleep sounder and for longer as it helps relax and soothe the mind. The same principle can be applied to adults. Stress contributes to the lack of sleep as the mind can not settle down and stop functioning. Playing music as you drift off helps settle the brain and relax the body keeping the mind off the stress keeping you up. 

What happens when we sleep?


It can be hard to find the will to simply engage in an everyday lifestyle sometimes. Keeping a home organized can help reduce stress levels, but cleaning itself is a chore many people do not have the energy for. Energetic, upbeat music such as hip-hop or pop can raise energy levels and make cleaning fun. Telling yourself a specific cleaning task needs completed before a number of songs are over,  may help you work more effectively. 

Music provides a staple to life. It connects individuals to a sense of community, as music provides an unintentional bond between those who listen and enjoy the same genres or pieces of work. The psychological structures in the brain allow the body to regulate and manage stress, pain, and trauma, by enabling relaxation within the body. Distracting the brain’s passageways from registering pain by focusing on music helps regulate pain management. Musical therapy and music in general change the brain and helps with trauma, stress, and other ailments disrupting the body from functioning as normal, by providing a healthy and affordable coping mechanism to a listener. Subconsciously patterns within the songs emote specific emotions and help one connect with events in their lives. By tuning into yourself and understanding the impact music has on your everyday life, a healthier lifestyle can be achieved. 


Meladi Brewer
Meladi Brewer

One comment

  1. You have a lot of great information I read it to my daughter and she said that this is probably why I love music lol

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