It is common knowledge that music improves our mental health, and there are countless researches to support this fact.
Firstly, let's talk about mental health. Our mental health is directly linked to our brains processes, and research has shown that whenever we listen to music, our brain will have the tendency to match our brainwaves to the rhythm of the music. Just this fact alone is enough to prove that there is an indisputable relationship between music and our brain, influencing our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This is also one of the many reasons why many psychiatrists use music as a form of therapy treatment to help their patients improve their psychological well-being and deal with stress. It has always been interesting how simple sound waves can help to improve our lives, and here are some facts about how music can improve our mental health.
1. Reducing Stress With Music
One of the greatest benefits of listening to music is that doing so help us to relax and reduce stress. If you have attended several mediation classes before, you would have realised that soothing and relaxation music will be played no matter which class you went to. These music are usually slow, and as your brain waves match the rhythm of the music, our body will gradually calm down. Hence, if you are someone who has been experiencing stress lately and are unable to meditate as per usual, try doing so with some slow paced soothing music, it will most likely aid you to enter a peaceful state of mind.
2. Cognitive Performance and Memory
Many have claimed that music helps to improve an individual's cognitive performance and memory. For example, experiments have been conducted to find out if people actually perform better with background music. Although there have been instances whereby people felt that music background is a distraction, the statistics of most experiments indicated that music generally aids an individual to perform cognitive tasks more smoothly and efficiently. Of course, this is largely dependent of the type of music we are talking about. For example, if you are listening to rock music or heavy metal, chances are that your brainwaves will become so active that you probably cannot concentrate on your work. Therefore, if you are someone who is easily distracted, listening to neutral genres such as classical music when you are performing cognitive tasks will probably be more suitable for you.
3. Improving Sleep
Sleeping is essential in everyone's life, and our mental health is heavily dependant on it. This is proven by the fact that people without sufficient sleep generally do not perform as well as those who had sufficient rest. This is especially so for people who are suffering from insomnia, and there has been a steady increase in people having such problems. If you are one of the victims of insomnia, listening to calm and soothing music when you tuck in for bed might actually be the remedy to your problem! Music has been proven to have a direct effect on our parasympathetic nervous system. Listening to slow and soothing music before you sleep will influence your brainwaves to slow down, relaxing your entire body, which leads you to fall asleep. Numerous researches have been conducted to show that people who listen to music before they sleep tend to fall asleep more easily as compared to those who don't.
4. Motivation and Endurance
Have you ever experience a rush in your body to go faster during workouts as your playlist switches to an electronic or rock music? This is because fast-paced music helps to motivate you to push harder and go faster. Multiple pieces of researches have been done to prove that music improves an individual's motivation and endurance, so if you are feeling lazy or lethargic during a workout, you can consider listening to fast-paced music as a form of stimulation to work harder. However, do take note that the consistency of the rhythm is very important. Try to stick with the same rhythm throughout the workout to pace yourself, this will help you be more consistent and increase your level of endurance! Also, your physical healths also affects your mental well-being. For example, being unhealthy due to not exercising will make you feel lazy and unmotivated. Hence, listening to music might be a great way to start a healthy lifestyle both physical and mentally!
As we live in this fast-paced and stressful environment, it is important to take some time out to relax yourself. Who said that relaxation can only be achieved through costly massage and spas? It can be as simple as taking 30 minutes of your time daily to listen to music and refresh your body and mind, and it is never too late to start this habit now!
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Wen Feng is a passionate music aficionado. He is constantly on the search for new music to listen to, with a particular interest in classical music. Piano pieces have always been a great companion and kept him calm throughout his school and work life.