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How Music Affects the Brain | Benefits You Probably Felt But Never Knew What They Were

Updated on November 5, 2015

I’ve always liked music. I can honestly say that its lyrics have taught me a few other foreign languages like French and Spanish, at least on a conversational level. While I grew up, music was a huge part of my inner world, where certain songs would express my true feelings towards life at that time.

And so, the years passed and I got a glimpse of the world of classical and ambient music that seemed so special and classy that I instantly wanted to be a part of it.

Therefore, I began educating my musical taste and slowly, discovered that those violin and piano sounds would resonate deeply in my brain for a long time after hearing them. Or those nature sounds, I would instantly associate them with a calm state of mind.

Those sounds haunted me like a pop song on the radio that goes on for days, only this time it was a nice haunting because it came with an inner relaxation as well.

Music holds a lot of power in its tunes and you’re soon to discover exactly what this statement means. Music can easily impress you and change your mood. But what’s more important is that music can do much more than that.

It can help you think more creatively, solve memory issues and improve your health. And it can also help you sleep better at night, and get you rid of the anxiety felt from being under serious pressure.

You’ve probably experienced some of these benefits that the music has on the brain too but you had no idea what they were or where they came from. I’ll make sure to elucidate that for you in the following paragraphs.

Music Can Help You Get Quality Sleep

Over the years I have had to sleep with a lot of noise on the background. Noise made by other people who would go to bed later than me or family members who would watch the TV all night long. I needed my rest so after learning about sleep meditation music and did a bit of research I finally gave it a go.

I must admit, the process of selecting the right music was kind of fun, even though I was skeptical at the beginning. All kinds of nature sounds, birds singing, waves crashing into the shore … After a few minutes of adjustment I started being aware that I wasn’t hearing anything else except those relaxing sounds. It was just me and the birds, walking barefoot on a sandy beach.

Slowly after that I remember only waking up in the morning, feeling really light and well-rested. Did it work? Indeed it worked amazingly. The conclusion here is that music on the background can help you sleep better, if you give it a chance.

Sleep meditation music can include relaxing classical music and ambient music. One of the sleep meditation music genres is called easy listening and includes sounds like soft sounds of piano, saxophone and guitar and of course the sounds of nature, which I prefer.

This type of music basically relaxes your body and calms down the overactive mind, allowing you to have a peaceful sleep, night after night.

Get Rid of the Anxiety with Happy Music and Fitness

I’m an emotional person, and that’s a fact. And because of that I have had to find ways to deal with my anxiety. The solution was music of course! Scientists discovered that when you give your mind something else to do it distracts it from the choking anxiety you feel in that moment.

And it works. The mind can be easily distracted as you’ve probably noticed when doing something for a longer period of time.

The same principle applies to fitness as well. When we’re exercising, our brain will start showing fatigue signs but listening to music will compete for the brain’s attention and music will actually be able to override the fatigue signals.

Now that’s a great way of carrying on your exercises till you’re finished and achieving one more goal in your life.

Fitness will burn all the negative energy in your body and music will help you stay on the right path. Just take a few deep breaths and focus on your music and you’ll notice how easily you will manage to forget about your anxiety.

In case you don’t have your player with you, then start humming. It has the same soothing and calming effect. Take a few moments and start humming a happy song and you’ll see how your focus shifts instantly.

Music Can Greatly Influence Your Health

... and your mood!
... and your mood!

Doctors have noticed that more than half of the affections are caused by stress. So the moment you listen to some relaxing music, every organ in your body calms down and slows down its process.

Music therapy is very common nowadays in hospitals because it helps relieving the pain. But it also helps to reduce blood pressure and strengthen the immune system. When the stress levels are as low as possible, the stress hormone called cortisol decreases as well so no more psychological attack on the body.

Amazing how music can be beneficial even when it comes to our physical health.

Creativity and Productivity Can Be Improved with Background Music

I used to work in a very loud environment and did not feel that productive. But I read about a study that said that a repetitive task is more enjoyable with good music playing on the background. Even though it seemed hard to believe it, I tried it anyway and to my surprise, found it to be very effective.

A relaxing and calm environment can help you with your creative thinking and it can make you focus better on your tasks.

But as it turns out, that study also showed that the background music must be at a moderate level to increase the productivity. Otherwise it just becomes distracting. The same goes for familiar music. It will not be a distraction when you hear familiar playlists.

Cheerful rhythms are the way to go when you’re looking for a productivity or creativity boost. These rhythms have the ability of uplifting your emotions and make you feel more confident.

Memory Problems Solved with the Aid of Music

It often happens that I forget certain things, some being very important too but it has never happened yet to forget special moments where I had music on the background.

Memories like a first kiss or a first great ice cream, they are very alive in my memory thanks to music. Our mind associates memories with the songs we know and like so much.

Music’s familiarity can lead to the well-being and the enjoyment of the listener. And that makes it more understandable why music is such a great therapy for patients with memory loss.

Alzheimer patients still amaze their caretakers with how well they remember the lyrics of a song but not the name of someone or what they’ve discussed a day before.

Playing an instrument teaches you responsibility and perseverance.
Playing an instrument teaches you responsibility and perseverance.

The explanation here is that the brain uses most of its areas when you listen to music. Music stimulates areas like processing the language, learning, memory and motor responses among a few others. A curious fact would be that all these areas are less damaged by the Alzheimer disease.

I would suggest when it happens you forgot an important piece of information that was shared to you, to try and first think of the place you were when you heard it. If there was any background music, it might actually help in the remembering process.

The effects of music on the brain are mostly positive as we can see. I’m not talking about very loud music and certain genres that are meant only to build up tension and raise the blood pressure in the body.

But the type of music useful in day-to-day life and real situations we’re facing. And that music is a real pleasure to listen to indeed.

Playing an instrument fosters your self-expression too.
Playing an instrument fosters your self-expression too.

I just love music. And now it’s even more amazing after I’ve found out all it can do to my mind and body. Wouldn’t you agree?

You now know what to do when you can’t sleep or how to increase your productivity, how to lower your stress level to take care of your health and how music can help with memory problems. And lastly, how to better cope with your anxiety and not let it control your life anymore.


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    • Laura Sumner profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Bucharest

      True Nancy. I can also focus better while working if I have some music on the background.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      2 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      There have been studies done that say some students learn and have longer attention spans when there is music in the background


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