Which song makes you happy? Surely there is a whole list of songs that remind you of happy moments in life and songs that you always want to listen to. But did you know that music not only improves mood but also heart health?
Music not only activates the auditory system, but also stimulates many regions of the brain, including those for movement, language, attention, memory, and emotions.
There is no such stimulus that simultaneously affects such wide areas of the brain as music. “This global activation happens while listening to music, playing an instrument or singing,” said Brian Harris, a Harvard music therapist.
Music can change the chemistry in the brain and these changes can be beneficial to the heart, many studies show. For example, people who listen to music exercise longer, their vascular function improves by relaxing their arteries, their heart rate and blood pressure return to normal much faster after exercise, anxiety in people who have survived a heart attack is reduced, it helps people in recovery after heart surgery, making patients feel less pain.
Like other pleasurable sensations, listening to or making music stimulates the secretion of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that motivates people. Sound processing begins in brain cells that also control heart rate and respiration. This relationship explains why relaxing music slows down heart rate, respiration and pressure and relieves pain, stress and anxiety.
It has to be music that suits us
Scientists suggest that music chosen by patients themselves has a better effect than music chosen by others. According to the American Association for Music Therapy, music evokes reactions thanks to its knowledge of the melody, its predictability, and its sense of security.
In arterial relaxation research, when classical and rock music were tested, the improvements were more significant when classical music lovers listened to classical music.