Music has been around for hundreds of years and for some people it is an important aspect of their lives. Many people listen to music to get through a tough day at work or to get through an intense workout session. Also, many of people’s careers revolve around music. But have you ever thought about how effective music is for your mental health? Even though people have different preferences in music or listen for different reasons, studies have shown that music is associated to mood. Listening to a certain song can make us feel different emotions and is an effective therapeutic tool. Music has effects on a person’s mind-set and over all well-being and it is shown that music can also increase your cognitive performance.

A study done by Cockerton, Moore, and Norman (1997) showed that participants who were listening to music while answering a series of questions were more quick and correct than the participants who were not listening to music. Listening to your favorite playlist during a workout can enhance your workout, which causes you to perform faster. This can release more endorphins throughout your body, which can elevate your mood. Music has also shown to relieved the symptoms of depression and anxiety as shown in a study done by Troppe in 2009. The neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure, dopamine, is released when listening to your favorite song or artist.

Since dopamine also plays a role in the reward system in your brain, it causes you to feel happier and more motivated. Music can also help you become more relaxed whenever stress is present. Research done by Rickard and Knight (2001) showed that the sound of a violin helped reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate to those participants who were stressed. Since music is correlated to relaxation, it can also improve your sleep quality. Listening to classical music was shown to help treat insomnia and other sleep related issues for college students (Harmat, Takacs, & Bodizs, 2008). When your quality of sleep is improved, your energy levels increase, which causes you to become more happy and active. Why increase your pharmaceutical spending when you can plug in your earphones and listen to your favorite song, which is more effective and inexpensive? Next time that you find yourself in a rut, plug in your stereo and jam out to your favorite playlist and see how your mood enhances. 


Author: Alexis Hampilos, University of Central Florida Psychology Intern

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