BY MELISSA B. MULLIN
There’s no denying that music is a powerful thing; it appears to effect us all on some level. Indeed it seems to have more of a hard hitting and immediate effect on us emotionally. But only in recent times have scientists sought to seek out and explain as to why music impacts us at such an emotional level.
According to 2knowmyself.com, a website that prides itself in being ‘an ultimate source in personal development and self understanding,’ music can be very beneficial in the healing sense, body and spirit. It would seem logical that music has to have some sort of positive effect medically, considering the fact that musical therapy is not a new thing.
This website also went on to allege that for many years therapists have advocated the study and listening to of music to reduce stress, relax, relieve pain and depression. Music reduces your stress by regulating your breathing rate and relaxing your muscles. Music also activates parts of the brain that make us happy, suggesting its importance for our physical and mental well being. How does it make us happy? Google.com defines Serotonin as a chemical in our brain that regulates emotion, behavior and thought. Music is said to stimulate your body, producing Serotonin; the “happiness hormone,” obviously making you feel happy.
Have you ever been listening to a song and then be flooded with memories from that time? Perhaps you’ve heard a song that reminds you of a loved one who has passed on, or a party you were at once. The point is, why music, melody, and lyrics do these things? New found information on 2knowmyself.com has given reason to believe that the cause of this could be Neuro association. This happens because your mind has previously associated both the song and event with each other, and by hearing a song that was playing at that moment, it brings back all those memories, and makes you feel the same emotions that you felt that very same night, making you recall the environment you were in, the people you were with, and maybe even what you were wearing.
If you haven’t already figured it out yet, it doesn’t take more than hearing the first five seconds of a song to make your mood swing or jog a memory, so watch out for songs that are anchored to bad memories and emotions, as they could affect you in a negative way, and really bring your mood down.
When asked why she thought music can have such a dramatic affect on people, Catie Mouw, a 16 year old Summer Journalism Institute student, said that it depends on the type of person you are.
“It all depends on your personality and how you are in general. When you listen to something you like, and can sing along to, it’s going to make you happy.”
Coming from a more artistic point of view, Sarah Blanc, another fellow Summer Journalism Institute student, listens to Bob Dylan when she’s painting to get her creative juices flowing.
“He makes my art better,” Blanc said. Her justification for why people listen to music while they are relaxing or trying to change their state of mind is, “It’s psychological. People find comfort in repetition and rhythm.”
There have been many studies and experiments to see what type of effect music has on the human mind, one of which was to see if music increased the productivity as you worked. According to Kutcha.com, researchers from the University of Illinois conducted a study to see just that. They found that classical musicians such as Bach and Mozart are excellent in helping people pace their reading and with memorization. Good news for the hormonally stressed: 2knowmyself.com claims that if you are aiming to be more productive through relaxation, you can do so by listening to music with an upbeat rhythm. This has been shown to reduce stress hormone levels by as much as 41%. By having control over your stress levels, you control your emotions, body, and functions.
How does music raise so many emotions in us? And why are they so powerful when they’re just two of the simplest things, lyrics and a melody. Just how is it that we as humans, develop such a “biologically based appreciation” for music? The answer is, we simply cannot be sure; we only have speculation and theory to go by. Until scientists can pinpoint exactly why music has that effect on people, it will remain a mass of theories and experimental results. But every study brings us closer and closer to the truth.
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