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10 Health Benefits of Music That You Were Never Aware Of

10 Health Benefits of Music That You Were Never Aware Of

Can you imagine a civilization without music? Impossible, I would say. In addition, history shows that every culture on this planet has used music in its religion, meditation, medicine, rituals and enjoyment of life. Let us look at the actual health benefits now.

1. Music is good for your heart.

“There’s just something about music—particularly live music—that excites and activates the body.”

—Joanne Loewy, Editor, Music and Medicine.

They say that music is good for the soul, but what about the heart? There are lots of experiments which are more or less impressive on the benefits of music when treating illness.

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Heart patients were observed at Massachusetts General Hospital. They were recovering from heart surgery. Some patients listened to Mozart’s piano sonatas for half an hour every day. These patients were the ones who had improved heart rates and lower blood pressure compared with those who never listened to any music at all.

2. We are musical creatures.

A must-read book on the power of music is Musicophilia by Dr. Oliver Sacks. He tells us that music and its powerful rhythms and sounds occupy more space in our brain than language does! As a neurologist, he has researched and studied extensively the role of music in our lives.

On his website, Dr. Sacks explains that when he meets people who are aphasic (have lost the power of speech), he always sings “Happy Birthday” to them. It is a starting point for treatment as many aphasic patients can still sing.

3. Music can help with pain relief.

Patients suffering from unrelenting pain have found relief from listening to music. Classical music seems to be the best option and Mozart and Bach are the most suitable. Also music for meditation can help but heavy metal and other techno sounds can actually agitate patients and cause irregular heartbeats, so they are not recommended.

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4. Music may be useful in controlling obesity.

Subliminal music which sends messages to the subconscious may work in helping people with weight control. It may act on the working memory so the messages about which foods to avoid will be repeated more effectively.

Other studies show that simply playing soft and relaxing music while eating can have a controlling effect on how full you feel. The result is that you will eat less.

5. Music can strengthen your immune system.

The Community Music School at the Michigan State University lists many health benefits of music therapy. One of the more interesting studies done hows that the interleukin-1 levels, which are key boosters for our immune system, can benefit from exposure to music. Even a quarter of an hour of music was effective. This is mentioned in the book, The Rebirth of Music.

6. Music helps premature babies.

The Beth Israel Medical Center treated over 250 premature babies with a special type of musical therapy. They chose music which resembled the sounds of the mother’s womb. These ranged from percussion instruments to lullabies. The music therapists chose the music carefully to suit the babies’ heartbeats and breathing patterns. The results were surprising in that the babies were quieter, slept better and were generally less stressed, as well as their parents!

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7. Music may help with memory and learning.

There was a lot of publicity about the “Mozart Effect” which showed that a group of college students did better at math while they were listening to some classical music. Some students find that music can aid concentration, while others need silence.

8. Playing a musical instrument can help with motor skills.

Many patients who have suffered brain damage after a stroke have gained benefits by learning to play a musical instrument. It can help with impulse control and social interaction. Stroke patients also benefit greatly when they have to learn lyrics and melody.

9. Music can help the elderly.

Elderly people often suffer from loneliness and depression, especially when they end up in nursing homes. Music has helped Alzheimer’s patients to actually focus on reality, albeit for short periods. It also makes them less agitated. Researchers have also noted that those senior citizens who still play an instrument are much fitter physically and emotionally than those who have never played.

10. Music may help you feel less sad.

For those people who feel down, there is a therapeutic benefit in listening to music. It does not have to be joyful or jolly either! Researchers at the University of Kent found that the selection of SSIM (Self-Identified Sad Music) by sad people was not necessarily linked to improving their mood. As long as it was beautiful, it would help them.

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Now the next time you listen to music to keep you motivated at the gym or to relax, help you sleep or help with stress, just thank your lucky stars that you have free therapy. There are no negative side effects either!

Featured photo credit: Artsedge Kennedy Centre via artsedge.kennedy-center.org

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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