Music can be considered an important part of everyday life. From meaningful lines in a rap to heart wrenching chords of an orchestral piece, music forges a connection between people, brings out emotions and memories, and can even inspire us. With the Vans Warped Tour in full swing since June, Pitchfork in July, and the prominent Lollapalooza concert coming up in August (along with several other music concerts and festivals lined up), it wouldn’t hurt to learn a thing or two about the positives effects of music.
Boosts Immune System: In a collaborative study led by Dr. Ronny Enk, researchers from Sussex University and the Max Planck Institute conducted a study where 300 volunteers were asked to listen to upbeat music for 50 minutes. The researchers found that the volunteers had an increase of antibodies in their system compared to the control group. The study also showed that exposure to upbeat music decreased cortisol, the stress hormone, in the volunteers’ bodies.
Improves Heart Strength: In a slideshow provided by the Huffington Post, research presented to the American Heart Association in 2008 reported that “listening to joyful music is linked with dilation of blood vessels' inner lining, meaning more flow of blood through the blood vessels.” This research was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The blood vessels’ inner lining was found to have grown by 26 percent. The results of the research implied that listening to music that produced anxiety was found to have decreased the dilation by 6 percent.
Helps Mollify Pain: The University of Utah Pain Research Center held a study with 143 participants to see if there were “potential benefits of music for diverting psychological responses to experimental pain stimuli.” In this study, the participants actively listened to music tracks while researchers delivered safe shocks to them through fingertip electrodes. The results revealed that “music helps reduce pain by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways, stimulating emotional responses, and engaging cognitive attention.”
Increases Endorphin and Serotonin Levels: According to an article on helium.com, the National Institutes of Health reported that listening to music that evokes positive emotions results in an increase in the neurotransmitters, endorphins and serotonin. These neurotransmitters act as analgesics and help boost your mood. Further research showed, from science.yourdictionary.com, that endorphins help speed the body’s healing process while serotonin positively affects about 50 million brain cells.
Affects Memory and Learning: The latter article mentioned above also indicated that “music with stronger beats causes brain waves to resonate in such a way that is in sync with the music. This brings about higher levels of alertness and concentration”. In addition, the part of your brain responsible for thinking and analyzing is stimulated when you listen to certain types of music, which aids in improving your logic and reasoning.