Music has been used for centuries. It has been used for expression of art, worship, ceremonies, celebrations- I could go on and on.
Have you also noticed, that music can sometimes elicit a specific mood?
Welp, if you hadn’t guessed already- that is completely accurate AND it’s science!
Music has been found to regulate and reduce stress, lift moods, and socially connect individuals to one another. Music has been linked to activating various regions in our brains to regulate mood, including the amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and nucleus accumbends.
Music not only can elicit emotions, but it can create connections within relationships. It’s when we share our favorite song with a loved one, or choose to experience a concert with our best friend. Those memories then can become tied to the relationship and music associated with it. It builds relationship and trust from shared experiences.
Typically when I hear a song, It almost immediately brings me back to a memory. Good charlotte reminds me of middle school. Kelly Clarkson (her early stages) remind me of high school. When I’m with someone who I trust and songs come on, I love to share who I was when that song was important to me. This creates a deeper connection and bond and shared stories within those relationships.
Music has been so prevalent in affecting our mood, that more and more research has been conducted to understand the connection to our brain. Research conducted by Sugaya and Yonetani found that music had the ability to bring unresponsive Alzheimer’s patients “back to life” so to speak, where they were now singing and dancing while listening to the music. Which is believed to activate the hippocampus region of their brains.
A team of researchers in Montreal found that when music is played, our brain responds by releasing dopamine in the dorsal and ventral striatum- which are regions of the brain associated with pleasure stimuli. Sugaya and Yonetani also found that the nucleus accumbends is activate with dopamine as well, which seeks pleasure and reward in our brain. Both of these lead to reduced stress and more positive moods.
Meyer also found that music activates the cerebellum, which can increase blood flow to the legs- and can you guess what that correlates with and can lead to…? If you guessed swimming, you’re wrong- it’s DANCING!
So what I’m trying to say is- during these really stressful times, lets stick to science to relieve some stress. Let’s turn on some music we love, connect with our loved ones, and get to dancing!
What song will you be dancing to tonight?!
*The information contained herein is not therapeutic advice nor a substitute for therapy. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health problem. If you are located within the United States and you need emergency assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are located within Colorado you may also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).