In 2012 a German artist called Bartholomaus Traubeck created a record player like device that translates tree rings into piano music. The device is aptly named Years, as the rings of trees tell years’ worth of stories including the tree’s age, natural events such as volcanic eruptions, forest fires, rainfall levels and even disease. These same tree rings produce music, and each tree produces its own composition of music given that each tree has its own unique groove pattern – pun intended.
This is just one out of many forms of proof that music is easily found in nature, including human nature. You can easily hear it in the melody of a bird, the whisper of the wind, the dripping of water and even the chirping of crickets. As we learned earlier, we are all one with everything else in the universe, all energy vibrating at our own unique frequencies. Frequencies are waves and waves have rhythm. It is therefore not a stretch to think that music is intrinsic to human nature and thus plays a role in the elevation of the human condition. You’ve likely heard the phrase ‘music is food for the soul’, and here are seven great benefits of music to the human mind, body and soul.
- Music helps you sleep better
There’s a whole genre of music dedicated to help human beings sleep better – lullabies. Mothers sing to babies all the time because music has a calming effect on the brain and helps with relaxation. The only problem is that when we grow up, we outgrow the lullabies we used to know but that doesn’t take away their benefits. Listening to softer genres such as classical music has been shown to help people struggling with insomnia sleep better.
- Music elevates mood
In the movies, when a stammering, sweaty palms mess of a guy asks a girl out and she says yes, the director cuts a celebratory walk on the street where said guy is hop-skipping to James Brown’s I feel good. This is what music does to the soul. It has been scientifically proven that listening to music increases the release of dopamine — a neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure centers of our brains — and consequently, makes us feel happy and relaxed.
- Music boosts your immune system
Studies have shown that listening to music lights up virtually every other center of the brain, indicating that music activates other parts of the body too. This may have something to do with the urge to bust a move and shake your tail feather at the sound of music. Besides this, music has been proven to have health benefits that include reducing pain and lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is responsible for weakening the immune system.
- Music helps us exercise
If you’re a fan of morning jogs or working out, you’ve probably found it easier to do it with your favorite music in your ears. In fact, in these glorious days of YouTube, loads of fitness regimes centered on music and dance routines have come up. You can find anything from calming yoga music, pumped up hip-hop dance choreographs, Zumba and aerobics to eastern belly-dancing music. This of course helps keep the body fit and the soul well.
- Music enhances memory
Have you ever heard a note of music that reminded you of someone or some place? Even as recently as I was in college, we used acrostics to help us remember mathematical formulas and sequential words. Studies have proven that music aids in memory in terms of recall accuracy, which is why some people fair well while studying with music playing in the background. The release of dopamine again comes into play here since dopamine provides motivation which in turn enhances learning and memory.
- Music relieves stress & anxiety
Music can decrease anxiety-induced increases in heart rate and blood pressure as well as the stress hormone cortisol. Research has shown this to be true through the study of patients recovering from surgery, birthing mothers and cancer patients. This however, has been specified to be soft music with low pitch and tempo – in other words, definitely not techno, dubstep or heavy metal.
- Music eases depression
Millions of people suffer from depression around the world. This is accompanied by conditions such as severe anxiety, insomnia and mood swings. As music helps you sleep better, reduce stress, exercise more and lift your mood, this significantly helps to reduce depression.1