Stop and Listen: How Music Can Benefit You

We’ve all heard the saying “Music is good for the soul.” But just how good for your soul is it? Turns out, there’s actually a lot of truth to the statement.

Whether you happen to be musically inclined or not, simply listening to music on a regular basis has incredible health benefits. Check out these ways music can improve your life, and see everything a tune has in store for you.

1. Music makes you happier.
Different types of music evoke different emotions within us. Listening to music you enjoy—no matter what the genre—causes your brain to release the “feel good” chemical neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is used to generate emotions such as happiness, excitement and joy. This is the same physical reaction our bodies have when we do something we enjoy, like eating a big slice of chocolate cake. In other words, music equals cake equals happiness.

2. Music eases pain.
Not only does listening to music make you happier, it can actually decrease the perceived intensity of physical pain. Studies have shown that music therapy sessions and pre-recorded music have reduced pain more than other treatments among cancer patients, intensive care patients and geriatric care patients. To quote the famous Bob Marley on this one, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” So true.

3. Music increases workout endurance.
A lot of people tend to have their favorite workout playlists to get them pumped up. In fact, this actually works. Previous studies have shown that listening to music while working out can enhance a person’s physical performance and increase workout endurance throughout. When we’re listening to engaging music, we’re not focusing on how difficult the workout is, we’re just enjoying the song—while sweating bullets at the same time.

4. Music helps you sleep better.
The main reasons Americans struggle with sleep insomnia are stress and anxiety. One way to combat this is by listening to music while falling asleep. Studies have shown that listening to relaxing classical music 45 minutes before going to sleep can treat insomnia and help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. So the next time you’re having difficulty counting sheep, try turning on Mozart to help you catch some Z’s.

5. Music lowers your stress.
Can’t seem to get over the stress you’re feeling? Listen to music. The American Institute of Stress found that stress causes 60% of all illnesses and diseases. However, recent research has shown that music helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which leads to some of these conditions. In fact, listening to just 50 minutes of uplifting music can increase your number of antibodies, which fight stress hormones and help you to relax more.

Music can be more than just a fun time at a party or a groovy car ride; it can help improve your mental and physical health just by listening.

So next time you’re feeling stressed, unhappy or over-exhausted, try plugging in some of your favorite tunes to get you going. As the saying goes, “Music is good for the soul.” And music is good for your soul.