Music & Our Minds
Music is everywhere. It could be the smooth jazz playing in the elevator or the trendy pop song you hear over the speakers at your local grocery store. It's almost impossible to go anywhere without music being in the background. This is partially because music is such a big industry, but it is also because of the way music affects us.
The majority of people listen to music because they like it, but have you ever wondered why? Is it the beat, the vocals, the way it makes us feel? It's a combination of all of these. However, the way it affects us mentally and how it makes us feel plays a bigger role than you would imagine.
Think of a song right now that makes you remember something. It could be the last song you listened to with your best friend or the song that got you through a rough time. Whatever it is, that song triggered your brain emotionally which now causes you to always relate that song to that specific memory. This idea is actually used to help people with Alzheimer's or Dementia to help them remember things by playing music from their past. A study shows that music helps reduce behavioral issues in the middle stages of the disease. In later stages, people have been known to still be able to tap beats of childhood songs but remember nothing else. This just proves how influential music really is on our brains. Essentially, music "awakens" our brains in ways that nothing else can. Specifically for people with memory loss, it's easier to remember a rhythm rather than just words or a motion. So in some cases, if you play a certain song for every activity it can help that person remember it because of the rhythm of the song. (https://www.caringseniorservice.com/blog/music-awakens-those-with-alzheimers)
Music also directly correlates to our moods. If you're working out, most people want music that will "hype" them up. Similarly, if you are trying to sleep, you would want something calming. Music sets the mood of any situation, which is why it can also affect stress levels. Listening to relaxing music can reduce stress. It lowers levels of cortisol in the brain, the hormone released when under stress. A study shows that a group of people who listened to the music of their choice before, during and after a surgical procedure was much calmer and had lower blood pressure than those who didn't listen to music. Music is has a direct effect on our brains that allows us to feel what the music wants us to feel.
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” —Billy Joel
Music is a universal language that everyone can enjoy. Even if it's not in the language you speak, you can still connect to the rhythm and sound of it. It's the soundtrack to our life that we get to choose. Music affects us whether we want it to or not. So, the next time you go out, notice the music around you and let it set the mood for that moment.