We all get the positive impact that music can have on your mind. Who hasn’t put together a personal Spotify happy playlist at one point? Exactly. But do you know exactly how music can improve your cognitive function and emotional well-being?
MUSIC AND THE MIND
For starters, music is a natural mood enhancer. The right music can lead to a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure and reward. A 2011 study revealed that “dopamine release is greater for pleasurable versus neutral music, and that levels of release are correlated with the extent of emotional arousal and pleasurability ratings.” Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “That track is so dope,” doesn’t it?
But wait, there’s more! Not only does dopamine make you feel good; it also regulates different aspects of your cognitive brain functions. So, whether you need some cheering up or are trying to keep focused, find that happy playlist, push play and boost those dopamine levels.
If you want to take the mental benefits of music to the next level, try enriching your meditation practice with a nice, long sound bath? According to practitioners, a sound bath promotes healing on all levels, deep relaxation, expansion of consciousness, and open the body’s entire energetic system.
TURN UP THE (HEART) BEAT
Music affects even more processes in your body than just boosting the release of dopamine. Depending on the type of music you’re playing, it can make you feel more relaxed or active and alert. A track can even get your heart rate to align with its bpm (beats per minute). Peaceful music has the ability to slow your heartbeat, whereas a fast-paced track speeds it up, making you feel more energetic. That also comes in handy when you’re in the middle of a heavy workout. That extra shot of energy (oh hi, dopamine!) and motivation enhances your endurance and lowers your perceived exertion. In fact, researchers have discovered that if you’ve picked the right track to motivate you, the positive impact of that track on your psychological state and performance increases dramatically.
The same principle can be used to benefit you after your workout. When you take the time to listen to the right music, it lowers your heart rate and even reduces your cortisol levels, so you can really calm down and recuperate.
DANCE DANCE DANCE
Here’s where it all comes together: dancing unites music, body and mind. In many cultures, dance (and music) has always been used as a form of communication and social bonding, and even as a sacred ritual. Through music and dancing, we still find a way to connect with ourselves and with others. When you feel the rhythm of the beat throughout your body, and it automatically reacts to it on a physical level, it awakens something in you. This sensation of being “in” your body can feel like as though you’ve just discovered an ancient technique of grounding yourself. In fact, dancing is a proven remedy, helping people work through dysfunctional thinking patterns, release painful emotions, let go of old habits and feel more empowered. So, dance it all out, baby. You can do it.
Whatever activity you’re planning to do, putting on the perfect music is the way to go.
Feel like going for a run? There’s a playlist for that.
Trying to find the right music to unwind after a long workday? We hear you.
Check out all Rituals Spotify playlists and see what works for you.