10 Positive Benefits of Listening to Music

10. Music Makes You Happier: Research proves that when you listen to music you like, your brain releases dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist at McGill University, injected eight music-lovers with a radioactive substance that binds to dopamine receptors after they listened to their favorite music. A PET scan showed that large amounts of dopamine were released, which biologically caused the participants to feel emotions like happiness, excitement, and joy. So, the next time you need an emotional boost, listen to your favorite tunes for 15 minutes. That’s all it takes to get a natural high!

9. Music Enhances Running Performance: Marcelo Bigliassi and his colleagues found that runners who listened to fast or slow motivational music completed the first 800 meters of their run faster than runners who listened to calm music or ran without music.

8. Music Lowers Stress and Improves Health: Listening to music you enjoy decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which counteracts the effects of chronic stress. This is an important finding since stress causes 60% of all our illnesses and disease. To stay calm and healthy during a stressful day, turn on the music!

7. Music Helps You Sleep Better: A study showed that students who listened to relaxing classical music for 45 minutes before turning in slept significantly better than students who listened to an audiobook or did nothing different from their normal routine. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try listening to a little Bach or Mozart before bedtime to catch some Zs.

6. Music Helps You Eat Less: Research at Georgia Tech University showed that softening the lighting and music while people ate led them to consume fewer calories and enjoy their meals more. If you’re looking for ways to curb your appetite, try dimming the lights and listening to soft music the next time you sit down for a meal.

5. Music Strengthens Learning and Memory: Researchers discovered that music can help you learn and recall information better, but it depends on how much you like the music and whether or not you’re a musician. Subjects memorized Japanese characters while listening to music that either seemed positive or neutral to them. The results showed that participants who were musicians learned better with neutral music but tested better when pleasurable music was playing. Non-musicians, on the other hand, learned better with positive music but tested better with neutral music.

4. Music Reduces Pain: Research at Drexel University in Philadelphia found that music therapy and pre-recorded music reduced pain more than standard treatments in cancer patients. Other research showed that music can decrease pain in intensive care patients and geriatric care patients, but the selection needed to be either classical pieces, meditative music, or songs of the patient’s choosing.

3. Music Increases Verbal Intelligence: After only one month of music lessons (in rhythm, pitch, melody, and voice), a study at York University showed that 90% of children between the ages of 4 and 6 had a significant increase in verbal intelligence.

2. Music Raises IQ and Academic Performance: Research shows that taking music lessons predicts higher academic performance and IQ in young children. In one study, 6-year-olds who took keyboard or singing lessons in small groups for 36 weeks had significantly larger increases in IQ and standardized educational test results than children who took either drama lessons or no lessons. The singing group did the best. To help your children achieve academic excellence, encourage them to sing or learn to play an instrument.

1. Music Keeps Your Brain Healthy in Old Age: A study with healthy older adults found that those with ten or more years of musical experience scored higher on cognitive tests than musicians with one to nine years of musical study. The non-musicians scored the lowest. 

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