The Power of Music on the Mind
“If you want to firm up your body, head to the gym. If you want to exercise your brain, listen to music,” states an article from John Hopkins Medicine.
Whether you’re on stage or in the audience, the performing arts are known for inspiring powerful emotions and showcasing culture. Research shows that music, in particular, also has the capability to heal and protect our minds.
According to an article from UW Health, “Scientific evidence suggests that music can have a profound effect on individuals – from helping improve the recovery of motor and cognitive function in stroke patients, reducing symptoms of depression in patients suffering from dementia, even helping patients undergoing surgery to experience less pain and heal faster. And, of course, it can be therapeutic.”
Here are three ways you can enjoy the benefits of music in your life.
1. Keep Your Mind Sharp
As much as you love to hear your favorite songs again and again, scientists suggest that listening to new genres and unfamiliar songs can help keep your brain sharp as you age. The new stimuli will instinctively demand extra focus from your brain to make sense of what you’re hearing. Discover a new artist at the Wisconsin Union Theater.
2. Rest Easy
Studies have shown that listening to classical music or other relaxing genres before going to sleep can improve your whole sleep cycle. Particularly beneficial are songs with a beat per minute (bpm) of about 60, which aligns with the heartbeat of a typical sleeping person. If you struggle with sleep, turn on some Mozart, Beethoven, or Bach about 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime. Look for Baroque adagios, such as this recommendation from our team (Sound will play when you click the link.), which are usually around 60 bpm. This tip can also help children of all ages to wind down before heading to sleep
3. Reduce Pain, Share Joy
Scientists and doctors are using music in many ways, from helping manage chronic pain to treating depression or anxiety.
Next time someone in your life is fearful of a painful medical treatment, such as a shot, playing or singing their favorite songs can help reduce the pain they experience. Researchers from the University of Utah Pain Research Center found that “music helps reduce pain by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways, stimulating emotional responses, and engaging cognitive attention.”
If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia, studies show they may find more pleasure in making music with family or listening to music together rather than trying to hold a conversation. An article from UW Health explains, “music ability can last longer than verbal ability.” So next time you spend time together, perhaps you can share in the joy of a good song.
Whether at home or at a live concert, music is being used to nurture, heal, and educate in amazing ways. We hope you are feeling inspired to discover new artists and utilize music to enhance the well-being of yourself or your loved ones.