Get your groove on: Music is not just good for the spirit

Helps keep an aging brain healthy.png
It is well known that music not only may improve quality of life (QoL) but also have different effects on heart rate (HR) and its variability (HRV). Music emphasis and rhythmic phrases are tracked consistently by physiological variables. Autonomic responses are synchronized with music, which might therefore convey emotions through autonomic arousal during crescendos or rhythmic phrases. A greater modulation of HR, HRV and modulations in cardiac autonomic nerve activity was revealed with a greater effect for music performance than music perception. Reactions to music are considered subjective, but studies suggested that cardiorespiratory variables are influenced under different circumstances. It has been shown that relaxing music decreases significantly the level of anxiety in a preoperative setting to a greater extent than orally administered midazolam (p < 0,001). Higher effectiveness and absence of apparent adverse effects make preoperative relaxing music a useful alternative to midazolam for premedication. In addition, there is sufficient practical evidence of stress reduction to suggest that a proposed regimen of listening to music while resting in bed after open heart surgery. Music intervention should be offered as an integral part of the multimodal regime administered to the patients that have undergone cardiovascular surgery. It is a supportive source that increases relaxation. Music is also effective in under conditions and music can be utilized as an effective intervention for patients with depressive symptoms, geriatrics and in pain, intensive care or palliative medicine. However, careful selected music that incorporates a patient's own preferences may offer an effective method to reduce anxiety and to improve quality of life. Pubmed link
Actually, you can check out this article 20 Surprising, Science-Backed Health Benefits of Music because every point is backed with a study and while I was looking myself I found a few I listed below. And all of that? Is fascinating but it isn't telling you something you don't actually know. It is something you know intrinsically, music makes you feel good.
It is not just that, though. We can incorporate it into our self-care in many ways.
  • During meditation- it helps you relax and having soothing background noise can help with meditation, because, in fact, it can induce brain waves of a meditative state.
  • To help with sleep- again that relaxing background noise is beneficial. To be honest, I prefer to have background noise when trying to sleep simply because I have tinnitus. And ringing in your ears and silence? Unpleasant to say the least when trying to sleep.
  • Help with exercise- It boosts exercise performance. Now, my exercise is pretty minimal right now as I work myself slowly up and it is also very painful. Without music, that pain is extremely distracting and I will get half the time done. So I double my time with music. Granted, we are talking a few minutes. But the effect was noticeable when I had been able to do a bit more as well. It is just a good distraction.
  • Mood boost- Music can help with depression, although studies indicate the type of music is important here, as I can imagine it would be. I often use music to boost my mood though.
  • Pain and stress reduction- A great component to music is the perks in stress reduction and the distraction for pain.

So we might as well use something we love to help us with our self-care. 

Also I should note it helps with creativity. I tend to blog or write with music. "A study was conducted to investigate the effect of noise on creativity. Three types of sound were observed: high, moderate, and low. Results indicate that moderate noise, about 70 decibels, has better effects regarding creative performance compared to low noise.​" Youthtune 
Actually, it helps with productivity overall. "And this dual tasking is not to be questioned. There is a study done to show that listening to music while working increases production by approx 7%.​" I loved an office where we had music playing.  Frankly, any boost to my focus and productivity is a bonus. 

Articles to check out:
  1. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0003566
  2.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509123653.htm
  3.  http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/04/25/music-training-may-help-keep-aging-brain-healthy
  4.  http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/music-dopamine-happiness-brain-110110.htm
  5.  http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/116/24/F139.full.pdf
  6.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18426457
  7. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1
  8. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2569640/Music-can-boost-your-immune-system.html
  9.  http://news.health.com/2011/08/12/music-eases-cancer-patients-anxiety-study/
  10. https://youthtune.com/benefit-of-music/
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