When I write, I listen to upbeat but not stressful instrumental music. I feel like it helps the words flow.
And as it turns out, there’s science behind that feeling.
Using science, let’s look at how music helps our brains function better. Here are just three ways…
1) Music helps flood your brain with good chemicals
Listening to music is like taking your brain to the gym.
When you listen to music, it stimulates the creation of some brain chemicals, including dopamine (which people often call the “motivation molecule”) and oxytocin (the chemical that helps you form bonds with others and be more trustworthy).
So pop in your ear buds. Go see a concert. Sing a little. It’s good for you.
2) Music helps you learn
You know how you can remember every word to a song, but you can’t even name all 50 states? That’s because music makes information stick. It helps you learn better.
The key is to learn music. Learn guitar. Learn piano. Get singing lessons.
An article in PBS talks about the many ways music helps us learn in general. In that article, Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, says this is true.
“The horizons are higher when you are involved in music,” he says. “Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.”
Here’s a quick look at how learning music helps us improve in other areas:
- improvement in language development
- increase in IQ
- improved test scores
- increased brain connectivity
- increased spatial intelligence (how things work together)
3) Music makes you feel better
I think we all know music makes you feel things, but here’s some scientific proof.
Studies show that listening to music — even sad music — can boost your mood. It can help with worry and sadness, decreasing the “stress hormone” called cortisol.
Josh Garrels, Kings Of Convenience, and Nick Drake are some artists whose music has helped me get through tough life stuff. Music can give us hope, and a hopeful person is a better functioning person.