Postdate: 28 November 2016
Music can make you smile or cry, it can make you relaxed after a busy day or pump up for a round of jogging. It plays an important role in experiences and events. Why does music have such an effect on your mood?
Influence on your brain
According to a publication in the American Journal of Public Health, listening to music lowers your heart rate and the rhythm of your breathing. It also reduces stress and anxieties. In all cases, it has a strong neurological base. Listening to pleasant, uplifting, or sad music releases various types of substances that have an impact on your mood, but also on your motivation, for example during sports activities. Sad music creates space for the processing of emotions. Still, melancholic music is not just for sadness per se: it can also invoke nostalgia, tenderness, and astonishment. You don't feel miserable, but you feel sympathy for the musician.
Music and mood
Listening to music has a huge effect on those areas of your brain that are associated with mood, reward, and stress. Pleasant music activates the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which is part of the reward centre in the brain. The VTA plays a role in the release of dopamine. Dopamine makes us feel satisfied and rewarded. Just as with music, dopamine is released during the use of drugs. This is why people using drugs feel better and why they want to take more. So music basically is a type of drug!
Music and movement
When you hear uplifting music, you are sooner inclined to start moving. Whereas calm music calms you down, fast, uplifting music induces the release of adrenaline. This will make your blood flow faster and it increases your breathing. There is a reason why runners often listen to music during their training. Music does not just 'turn on' your body. It was also proven that listening to music has a favourable effect on your endurance, motivation, and strength.
Maybe you already know that you like listening to music at certain moments and that this has a positive effect on you. You become less sad, you can pump yourself up for a training, or your concentration increases with classical music. It has been scientifically proven, so take advantage of this knowledge!
'Music is what feelings sound like'