In modern life many of the “traditional” activities often credited for relieving stress and improving overall health are becoming harder and harder to do. The “busyness” of modern life makes things like a walk in the park, hours of exercise, spending time in nature, going to church on weekdays, etc. harder and harder. It seems that we are spending more time behind computer screens, commuting, dealing with lines everywhere we go, that there are few daily activities left that we can still do often enough to improve our lives. As it turns out, there is one! Music!
“There are certain properties of music that affect the mind and body. Dedicating time each day to listen to music that triggers different emotions can have a hugely beneficial impact on our well-being,” said Lyz Cooper, of the British Academy of Sound Therapy. “Listening to happy songs increases blood flow to areas of the brain associated with reward, and decreases flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear.”
While it has long been known that music is enjoyable and thus beneficial for your mental health, a recent study has pinpointed how we need to listen to music to get the most out of it.
The streaming service Deezer sponsored a study of 7,500 people and how music affected their physical and mental state. Overall, 90% of the study population reported some emotions benefit to music.
Some of the emotional benefits people sited during the study were:
Overcoming Sadness (47%)
Researchers were able to use the data they collected to compose a daily intake of music (much like daily nutrition intake) that they recommend for overall well-being. The researchers recommend a combination of different music based on the emotions it brings out to you. The type of music you choose will be up to you, so you will need to self-reflect to determine which music will bring out the desired emotion. The research also recommends the duration you need to listen to each emotional category.
Overall, you should be listening to 78 minutes of music per day. The breakdown should be as follows:
(Total Listening 78 minutes)
14 Minutes (18%) Music that makes you feel happy
16 Minutes (20.5%) Relaxing music
16 minutes (20.5%) Music that helps you overcome sadness
15 Minutes (19%) Music that helps you concentrate
17 Minutes (22%) Music that helps you manage anger or angst
Since, unlike so many other activities music is doable for most of our modern lifestyles (you can listen to it in the car, on the train, working on the computer, etc.) make sure to use the above guidelines to improve your overall mental (and thus physical) health. Another great way to use music for physical improvements is to listen to motivating and energetic music while exercising.