Music therapy

How does music affect your mood?

Have you ever stopped and thought if there’s any scientific research correlating to how music positively or negatively affects your mood?  Better yet, do you ever find yourself using music to reflect back on a happier time in your life? Or do you use music to “pump” yourself up for a big exam or a physically challenging event?

Well in case you ever wondered, music and mood are in essence, intertwined.  In fact, how we respond to music has been identified by scientists to happen at a sensory level and this response can actually control our perception about something.

For example, a scientific experiment was performed on test subjects that had to distinguish whether ‘smiley icons’ were happy or sad while listening to either pleasant or depressing music.  Naturally, ‘smiley icons’ were happy if the test subjects were listening to happy music and vice versa.  However, there was a “twist” to this experiment when a ‘neutral icon’ was thrown into the mix.  Subsequently, the test subjects picked happy or sad to the ‘smiley icons’ depending upon the type of music they were listening to.

So what is happening to our brains as we listen to music?

When you perceive something to be your reality, you are basing this assumption upon what you are seeing and have previously learned about the world around you.  In terms of music, the brain makes a decision from music stimulation to either recall the happy or sad times which alters your mood accordingly. Another fun fact is that music has been shown to cause the cerebellum (the area in the brain that helps you perfect certain skills and make them merely a force of habit) to react on a brain scan.

Can you trick your brain by playing music that will evoke a certain emotional response?

The answer is YES.  First, decide what type of mindset you are looking to achieve.  Next, use music to “knock at the door” of your current conscious thoughts.  Then, allow the music to dig down into your sub-conscious.  Simply put, allow yourself to be consumed by the music at the deepest level.  In turn, the sound waves from the music will be converted from our auditory brain stem into corresponding brain waves that stimulate our mood.

Besides mood improvement, does listening to music help with anything else?

Has anyone ever told you to listen to classical music when studying for a big exam?  Well believe it or not, coupling the rhythm and pitch of music to certain material you’d like to recall in the future, is a helpful way to increase memory retention.  Remember the ABC song?  Can you say your ABC’s without the tune that goes along with it?

So what’s the take-home message?

Crank up those tunes and let yourself get swept away in the moment!  After all, it’s just music to our ears…………

Happy listening!  Here’s to living your best life ever!  Feel free to leave me a comment or any additional insight you may have.



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