Is Music Good For Your Health?
We already know that listening to our favorite musical artists can put us in a better mood, but can listening to music really benefit our health? New research suggests that music has a very real effect on our health and can work to improve our general sense of wellbeing. At the very least, positive or uplifting music can help us reduce stress. What Else Can Music Do for Us? Recent research indicates that listening to music can affect both our mental and physical health. For instance, people who experience depression can be uplifted and eliminate symptoms just by listening to music. The mood is also elevated, helping us to stay happier or to feel more content. Physically, studies have shown that listening to music improves blood flow throughout the body. They have a similar effect as statins, when it comes to boosting blood flow. Additionally, music lowers cortisol levels in the body; cortisol is the hormone responsible for elevated stress. Listening to music can also help to reduce physical pain, helping people who are recovering from injuries or struggling with a severe illness. There's a physiological process at work, when we listen to music, that lets soothing sounds help us in these ways. When we listen to music, the brain is activated to respond to neurochemical processes that affect the structure of the brain. As a result, mood is boosted, emotions become better regulated, and cognitive functioning is improved. Kim Innes, an epidemiologist and a professor at the School of Public Health at West Virginia University, says music produces a whole host of beneficial changes in the brain. Don't Skip Out on That Next Concert While listening to music in any capacity is good for your health, another study suggests that going to concerts can help extend your life. The study was conducted at the U.K. music venue O2 by Patrick Fagan, who teaches at Goldsmith University and is regarded as an expert in behavioral sciences. His research found that spending just 20 minutes at a live music concert can cause a 21% increase in one's feeling of well-being. To put that in perspective, practicing yoga can give you a 10% boost and your feelings of wellbeing can be boosted by 7% by walking a dog. How does that work to lengthen your life? Fagan says past research indicates that a high sense of wellbeing lengthens one's life by nine years. Putting those facts together, Mr. Fagan surmises that going to live concerts can help you live up to 9 years longer. He recommends attending a live concert at least once every two weeks.