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Four Ways Music Effects the Mind & Body

Have you ever been in a bad mood and needed to hype yourself up? So, you play your favorite song? You may have found that it worked! Or maybe you needed to calm yourself down, so you put on some soothing music. There have been countless studies done on how music can affect mood. Music can have some extraordinary effects on the mind and body. Let’s take a look at four specific ways.

Listening To Music Can Calm You

This has been a claim for years. Thankfully, it is true! If you have ever had a difficult time sleeping and decided to Google “meditation music” or “sleep music” you would see a myriad of search results. Of course, they are all different, and each person would have to find something that meets their tastes, but there is science to back up the claims. Music does calm the nervous system and can help you fall asleep. One study looked a sample of women who were exposed to either the sound of rippling water, relaxing music or no sound at all, and then a stressor. They then were given a psychosocial stress test to measure the effect. Conductors of the experiment found that those who listened to the relaxing music recovered more quickly after the stressor (Thoma et al., 2013).

It Can Improve Memory

Have you every listened to music while you were studying and swore that it helped you learn the material? You may be right! One study looked at how well individuals were able to read and recall a list of words with background music. In fact, they dug deeper and looked at up-tempo classical music, down-tempo classical music, white noise, and no noise at all. Those participants who listened to the up-tempo classical music were able to recall the most words with the most accuracy (Bottiroli et al., 2014).

Music May Help Improve Mental Health

Earlier I posed the question whether you had ever noticed that turning on your favorite song can turn your mood around. There is some science behind why that happens. Listening to your favorite tunes releases several of the neurochemicals that play an important role in mental health. Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Cortisol are can all be released when we are enjoying our favorite music (Chanda & Levitin, 2013). Dopamine and Serotonin are known as the “happiness” chemicals. They are typically released when we feel happy. Oxytocin is a chemical that is related to feelings of closeness. Cortisol is related to stress.

Cardiovascular Effects of Music One of the inherent cardiovascular effects of music, is that it makes you want to get up and shake your booty! If you are getting up and dancing, and your blood is pumping, certainly that is good for your heart and cardiovascular system. There is more, though. Music can affect your heart and respiratory rate. The speed of the music an individual listened to in one study was directly proportionate to their heart and respiratory rate (Bernardi et al., 2006).

Whether you are looking for some background music while you get some important work done or trying to boost your mood, music can probably help. I personally like to reap the rewards from music by incorporating it into my morning routine. This is just an example, of course. No one is under any obligation to try this. In the morning when I do my twenty-minute meditation, I use music by searching on YouTube for random “meditation music”. After going about my morning routine, once it is time for my hair and makeup, I like to play some very up-beat, somewhat motivational music while I’m getting ready to take on my day. Music that is sure to put me in a good mood. I almost never get to work in a bad mood when I start my day with a playlist.

Bernardi, L., Porta, C., & Sleight, P. (2006, April). Cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory changes induced by different types of music in musicians and non-musicians: The importance of silence. Heart (British Cardiac Society). Retrieved January 18, 2022, from

Bottiroli, S., Rosi, A., Russo, R., Vecchi, T., & Cavallini, E. (2014, October 15). The cognitive effects of listening to background music on older adults: Processing speed improves with upbeat music, while memory seems to benefit from both upbeat and Downbeat Music. Frontiers in aging neuroscience. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from

Chanda, M. L., & Levitin, D. J. (2013, March 29). The neurochemistry of music. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from

Thoma, M. V., Marca, R. L., Brönnimann, R., Finkel, L., Ehlert, U., & Nater, U. M. (2013, August 5). The effect of music on the Human Stress Response. PLOS ONE. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from

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