Music surrounds our daily lives. For most of us, we hear it whenever we get in our cars – whether it is while we’re on our daily commute to work or when we are just going down the street to get a few groceries. But if you think about it, it surrounds us everywhere, even if we are not in our cars with the radio on. If you regularly watch television, there is often music in every commercial, show, or movie we are watching. You may listen to music at work all day and not even realize it, especially if you work in a clothing store or restaurant. Why is it everywhere around us? Well, it turns out that listening to music can reduce stress and anxiety, decrease pain, help us exercise and live healthier, as well as improve our memory.
Reducing Stress and Anxiety
No matter what your life situation may be, most everyone goes through stressful days from time to time. Next time one of those days seems to get to you, instead of letting the frustration build up inside of you and letting it out like a full bottle of Coca-Cola filled with Mentos, try plugging some music into your ears and going for a calm walk in your neighborhood. Studies have shown that music can not only relieve stress but also reduce your heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and cortisol levels, all significant factors related to anxiety.
Recent studies have also shown music to help with the easing of pain. One of these recent studies involved patients who underwent spinal surgery. One group was instructed to listen to music of their choosing on the evening before their surgery until the second day after their surgery while the other control group didn’t listen to music. When the pain levels of patients from both groups were measured after surgery occurred, the group that listened to music had a significantly less pain than those without the aid of music. Music can also help with emotional pain as well, such as relieving symptoms of depression and elevating mood. The genre of music is also important here. When you’re feeling down, listening to classical music or calm songs with slower tempos can be uplifting, as opposed to heavy metal and techno that can make your depressive symptoms even worse.
You may notice that many people who regularly exercise always have their headphones on. This isn’t because they are trying to make a fashion statement every time they workout; it’s because music has been proven to push you even further with your workouts than you think. According to sports researchers Peter Terry and Costas Karageorghis, “Music has the capacity to capture attention, lift spirits, generate emotion, change or regulate mood, evoke memories, increase work output, reduce inhibitions and encourage rhythmic movement — all of which have potential applications in sport and exercise.” Additionally, there have also been studies that show listening to soft music while eating actually increases the time it takes to finish a meal, which leads to consuming less food in one sitting.
Improve Your Memory
It is also common for certain songs to bring back memories. For example, if there is something big happening in your life and a certain song is popular on the radio at that same time, that song will always leave you feeling nostalgic, thinking about that special time in your life.