I don't know about you but music has always been a very important part of my life. For as long as I can remember, my dad had vinyl albums of Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and Loretta Lynn always playing on our family stereo system.
Music moves me spiritually whether in church or not - which we attended every Sunday when I was growing up. The choir was always my favorite part because I felt "moved" in unique way by the voices and the big pipe organ.
Whether it was my first opera, Miss Saigon, my first Broadway musical, Cats, at my grandmother's funeral watching my grandfather on his knees sobbing while Amazing Graze, making out with my high school boyfriend for the first time to I Want To Know What Love Is by Foreigner, or dancing with my best friend to Like A Virgin by Madonna singing in our curling irons, music has an uncanny way of creating a "frame" around our life experiences. I have music on all the time. It is not because I don't like silence, but rather it stimulates my brain and my soul in a way nothing else does.
In doing a little research, I found these fun facts regarding brain health and and music.
Musicians have better brains:
- Their brains are noticeably more symmetrical.
- Areas of the brain responsible for motor control, auditory processing, and spatial coordination are larger.
Music Improves your mood:
- Listening to music at work can make you a happier, more productive employee, especially if it’s music you’ve chosen.
- Office workers allowed to listen to their preferred choice of music complete tasks more quickly and come up with better ideas than those who have no control over their musical choices.
- Science has now proven what music lovers already know, that listening to upbeat music can improve your mood.
- Listening and playing music reduces chronic stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol.
- Music can make you feel more hopeful, powerful, and in control of your life
Music Boosts Brain Chemicals:
- One of the ways music enhances brain function is by stimulating the formation of certain brain chemicals.
- Listening to music increases the neurotransmitter dopamine. This is the brain’s “motivation molecule” and an integral part of the pleasure-reward system. It’s the same brain chemical responsible for the feel-good states obtained from eating chocolate, orgasm, and runner’s high.
- Playing music with others or enjoying live music stimulates the brain hormone Oxytocin AKA the “love hormone” it increases trust and empathy and it helps us bond with and trust others.
- There’s evidence that the Oxytocin bump experienced by music lovers can make them more generous and trustworthy.
I recently attended a Tony Robbins Event called Unleash the Power Within. This is 60+ hours of a seminar over 3 1/2 days that is very intense and went long into the night. The one question people keep asking is, how did you not get tired? Well, there was music playing all of the time! And now that I know the brain research behind how music is vital to our lives, it makes sense cause we were all hyped up on dopamine!
What is the soundtrack of your life? Is it The Breakfast Club, Mama Mia, Hamilton, 80's Rock Mix, a custom mix of hip hop, Keith Urban's Greatest Hits, Taylor Swift's 1989?
Our personal soundtrack can change depending on what we are going through in our life. But music does allow you to process emotions, positive or negative. It can be cathartic and healing as well as uplifting and energizing. So, get out your phone and curate your own perfect soundtrack for your life to increase your happiness, intelligence,, generosity and trust!