Your Brain on Music

Listening to musicIt is the rare person who doesn’t like music, and frankly we just don’t understand them at all. In our opinion, not much beats sitting back with a frosty beverage to listen to our favorite bands. Whether we are reliving our favorite concert, catching up on the latest hits, or decompressing with some mellow tunes, music is a reprieve, a joy and an elixir.

But here’s something cool…listening (and playing) music has a powerful and positive effect on your brain! In fact, there is an entire branch of research called neuromusicology that explores how the brain responds to music. And the fancy doctors who study this have spoken – music makes you healthier, smarter, happier and more productive.

There is no shortage of articles on this topic. Without getting too deep into the scientific details, here are a few fun things that you can share the next time you are at a cocktail party or someone asks you to turn it down:

  • Listening to music lowers the hormone cortisol, reducing our stress levels and making you feel more in control of your life and hopeful about the future.
  • Enjoying live music stimulates oxytocin levels in our brains. Oxytocin is referred to as the “trust molecule” because it helps you bond with other people. A bump in it can make you more generous and trustworthy.
  • Listening to music also boosts your dopamine. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter and part of your pleasure-reward system. Raising its levels can give you a similar rush as running, eating chocolate and sex.

In addition to kicking back with your favorite tunes at home, listening to music while you work is also beneficial. Software developers produce better work more efficiently, surgeons are less stressed and work more accurately, and athletes who pregame with powerful tunes are less likely to choke under pressure. Creativity increases, concentration is higher, and moods are improved, so, get out your favorite headphones and turn up the songs you love.

Researchers have long said that music has a healing effect, and quite a few studies have shown it can alleviate symptoms of a variety of ailments, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, and insomnia. If “self-treating” isn’t doing what you need, there is the option of visiting a music therapist who are trained and licensed professionals who create a program to specifically treat what ails you. And this profession is definitely growing. In fact, music therapists are in greater demand than most other professionals, with a job outlook set to grow at a 12% rate.

We could go on and on but suffice it to say that listening to music is definitely good for you, regardless of your age, ailment or attitude. If you need a quick hit, stop by the store and immerse yourself in one of our listening rooms. Or if you need to get, or upgrade, your own system, you know where to go!

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