The Music Diet

The Music Diet

You may be crazy about music and listen to it all the time. If this is you then you could be improving your health every time you fire up your jam. However, if music isn’t something you desire that much, you may want to think about starting your own music diet. 

Embracing sounds that you find resonate with your energy could alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and more, including overall cognitive improvement. It may take some experimentation but if you are able, you might be pleasantly surprised when you start your very own music diet.

Study Based Musical Benefits

Scientists have studied music for centuries but with more advanced medical technology now researchers can look at all the varying effects music has on the deep brain mechanism as well as overall personality response. These are some of many studies that show how important music can be to your health. 

Published in PLoS One, the study titled, “The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response” concluded that,

“Our findings indicate that music listening impacted the psychobiological stress system. Listening to music prior to a standardized stressor predominantly affected the autonomic nervous system (in terms of a faster recovery), and to a lesser degree the endocrine and psychological stress response.”

Having music in the background shows a positive response. Although more research needs to be done, a study published in the National Library of Medicine found that,

“Background music improves working memory and speeds up performance in skill tasks,”

Music can alleviate symptoms for those struggling with mental illness. Through the natural manipulation of specific cognitive hormones, namely oxytocin, dopamine, cortisol, and serotonin, music significantly affects the brain in a positive way.

Researchers from Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada looked at the neurological effects of music exposure. It was found that

“music improves health and well-being through the engagement of neurochemical systems for  reward, motivation, and pleasure; stress and arousal; immunity; and social affiliation”

Get Your Dose

The next time you catch yourself zoning out watching the news or listening to commercials play incessantly in the background, stop and re-adjust. Re-adjust with a dose of music. Choose your genre and get listening to see if any of these study based benefits apply to you.

These are some tips on how to access music:

  • Stream – The most popular way to listen to music is using a streaming app like Spotify, Apple, Pandora or other service. Find them on your phone or computer. These all require a paid subscription but you may be able to access a free trial period or free version that includes advertisements.
  • Television – Many cable subscribers offer music channels you may already have in your package or can purchase. Check the high channels for a bunch of categories to choose from.
  • Youtube – If you can access YouTube on your phone, computer or television you can enter a type of music you like and listen that way.
  • Radio – Go old school, there is great music on the free public radio airwaves. It’s finding a radio that might be the challenge.

Listen to music while sitting or lying down, closing your eyes or doing another activity. Some people have found that reading or writing while listening to music can significantly help focus and creativity. Using headphones can really tune you but be sure to watch the volume output so you do not damage your hearing. 

The Music Link

Even if you are not that into music there’s a good chance music has affected you more than once. This is why many medical professionals feel that exposure to music is essential to human quality of life.

Healthline lists some of the inadvertent ways music has affected us all:

  • National anthems connect crowds at sporting events
  • Protest songs stir a sense of shared purpose during marches
  • Hymns build group identity in houses of worship
  • Love songs help prospective partners bond during courtship
  • Lullabies enable parents and infants to develop secure attachments

Re-experience music on your own terms. Sometimes all it takes is creating a diet of the “ear food” you want to be fed. Listening to music can help a back pain subside, an idea to arise, an inspiration to be fueled, or a calm to be had. Don’t miss out on exploring the classics as well as contemporary music that’s shaking right now. Either way starting your very own music diet is a sure way to bring a smile to your face and a charge to your heart.