I love it when the hobbies that I like doing give me something back in return. Who doesn’t? As it turns out, something as easy and simple as listening to music is of the few lovely things that can provide pleasure and health simultaneously! So with that in mind, here is a list of some of the cognitive benefits of listening to music, along with a genre that brings out the best of each benefit.
1) Changes in Mood
If you are feeling really low or maybe just a little bit icky, music can work wonders on your hormones. Pop music in particular, with its fast beats, lively melodies and go-get-‘em lyrics can give you a vital perspective shift to get you through the 4.30pm slump. On a cognitive level, this is because the music acts as a stimulus that influences your dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin- the Holy Trinity of happy emotions.
A good genre to get the most out this benefit; Pop
2) When you are under the pump
When you are stressed and have 4 essays, 2 double shifts at work and 5 universes to save, a bit of music, especially something a bit edgier, can help you not take life too seriously. It can provide you with a moment of distraction, to enter another world. Alternatively, if you listen to a particular feisty punk or rock song, it can help the time pass, or add a sense of fun and rebelliousness when tackling the daily grind.
A good genre to get the most out this benefit; Punk, Rock
Maybe it’s SWOTVAC! Maybe you have to complete a super delicate task: such as a painting. Maybe you like to get into the literary zone before you read that juicy novel you’ve been looking forward too. In this case, listening to a song with any rhythm is great, but with a catch: listen to it in a language that is foreign too you! This way, whilst you are studying, you will not be distracted by the lyrics, and your brain processes the foreign language words in such a way that creates the perfect foundation for study!
A good genre to get the most out this benefit; Medium Paced songs in foreign languages
4) Getting your Sweat On
Music has been found to increase endurance and post work out recovery. Hip hop songs with prominent beats can provide a golden distraction, which allows you to not feel the mucky pain of #deathonatreadmill and persevere those extra 5 minutes more! That it could be what it takes to beat that personal best.
A good genre to get the most out this benefit; Hip Hop
5) Meditation and Relaxation
Finally, music can help you reach a state of relaxation and peace. For beginners, the music can be great way to help you get your breathing into a rhythm. For more advanced meditators, it can be a great way to project positive visualisations and trek into a deeper consciousness. Your heartrate is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, specifically the brainstem. Whilst you can’t gain control over your heartrate intentionally, music can act as a calming sensory stimulus to help lower it, alongside the spiritual guidance of the mediation.
A good genre to get the most out this benefit; Delta Waves, White Noise
Traditional and Guided Mediative music, soft classical compositions
Additionally, playing an instrument can also result in a workout for your brain. It’s really taking the host of benefits that music has to the next level! See below: