Remember those epic moments when you saw your favorite bands in concert, or the nostalgia to hear an album that you revered in high school. Or how you suppress the urge to dance to your favorite song while you are shopping. Few things are as reaffirming as listening to their songs over ambient sound in the food court or the bakery aisle. Music of used piano speaks to our soul. That is part of the calming capacity of music and the way it can help you relax, give you energy while running or even help you focus on work or school.
Thanks to science, this range of emotions is not merely anecdotal. Listening to music has tangible benefits, including the direct correlation between music and stress relief. Understanding the chemical reactions that occur in your brain in relation to sounds is key to unleashing the relaxing magic of music. Even if you already know how incredibly powerful music can be, now you can explain it through the science of sound.
How the sound harmonizes with your mood.
Sound waves affect your hearing, one of your five senses (scientifically called hearing). Hearing is intrinsically linked to many of your body’s physiological reactions. His eardrums pick up sounds from a wide variety of sources, such as the chirping of birds, the voice of a friend through his cell phone, the sound of the oven timer, or the powerful playlist he uses to exercise. The brain converts these sound waves into electrochemical nerve signals, and this is where the sound strikes a chord.
Loud, high-pitched sounds cause your brain to release cortisol, increasing your heart rate and setting up a fight or flight reaction. The sound of a familiar or strange voice triggers a different chemical cascade, and your brain and body respond accordingly. And although that was vital for survival before, such a highly developed auditory system is now much more useful for communicating.
So how does music reduce stress? Scientific evidence shows that music affects your body like any other sound. Rhythms, beats, and samples generally mimic nature, and the power of the voice is carried through both analog and digital media. Your ears send signals to your brain to produce dopamine,
Depending on the song, the music can influence:
- Dopamine, dehydroepiandrosterone, cortisol, and other hormone levels
- Heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
- The psychobiological stress system
- The scale of perceived stress and mood
- Post-work recovery both physical and mental
- Alert and energy levels
With such a variety of physical and chemical effects, it is not surprising that there is a strong correlation between music and stress relief. Many of those same chemicals are linked to emotions, making music another surefire way to tame your mood.
Beat Stress with BPM — Beats Per Minute
Music can reduce stress and positively influence your body in many ways. You may be wondering, “Is this true of all music?” “Does the type of scale make a difference?” And what if you do not like classical music — can it still help you?
It turns out that taste has a lot to do with it. The same piece of music affects listeners differently, depending on their musical tendencies, what they grew up listening to, and the different emotional ties established with a song. Perception is a powerful indicator in determining how the sound will affect an individual. This is very similar to the way your experiences shape the unique wiring of your brain. So, if you do not like folk music, there is no shame in staying away from these vibrant bands.
Before we move on to how PPM impacts stress, there are other indicators to predict how a song might affect it — whether it is lively or quiet, good for study or party. Major scales are often associated with upbeat and predictable pop songs, while minor scales appear to be sadder, more complex, and dissonant. This also works well with voice and intonation.