Is Listening to Music Good For Your Health?

May 26, 2018 - 455 views

If you’re looking for an easy way to transform your mood, cue the music.

Studies have shown that music can buoy your mood and fend off depression. It can also improve blood flow in ways similar to statins, lower your levels of stress-related hormones like cortisol and ease pain. Listening to music before an operation can even improve post-surgery outcomes.

How can music do so much good? Music seems to “selectively activate” neurochemical systems and brain structures associated with positive mood, emotion regulation, attention and memory in ways that promote beneficial changes, says Kim Innes, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University’s School of Public Health

Innes coauthored a 2016 study that found music-listening could boost mood and well-being and improve stress-related measures in older adults suffering from cognitive decline. Her study compared the benefits of music to those of meditation—a practice in vogue for its mental-health perks. She found that both practices were linked to significant improvements in mood and sleep quality. “Both meditation and music listening are potentially powerful tools for improving overall health and well-being,” Innes says. If the idea of listening to music seems a lot more practicable to you than meditating, these findings are great news.

But music can also agitate and unsettle, experts have learned.

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