Fact or Myth: Music Helps Mental Health?

This is FACT.

Study after study confirms music helps mental health. Listening to music sparks creativity, motivates and encourages productivity, and helps you relax and generally feel better about life. A 2011 study from McGill University researchers showed that listening to music increases levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a feel-good hormone, and having more of it may help combat depression. And a recent study published in Lancet Psychiatry suggests that listening to hip-hop music may help decode certain mental health disorders.

Music Helps You De-stress music therapy

Music is so effective at improving mental health partly due to its beneficial influence on stress. An October 2015 study in the journal Infancy showed that listening to music calmed infants longer than talking to them did…even when using baby talk. Researchers suggest that it’s the repetitive pattern in music that helps to decrease stress because it engenders entrainment. Entrainment occurs when the body synchronizes its internal rhythms with external rhythms and beats.

Likewise, a 2013 study out of the UK’s Great Ormond Hospital showed that when children listened to music they exhibited decreased anxiety, stress, and pain. Researchers also theorize that music helps mental health by lowering levels of cortisol—the stress hormone—in the brain. Lowering cortisol, of course, depends on the type of music you are listening to!

Classical for Creativity

Classical music has been shown to help you focus and to boost creativity. Music that beats at 60 bpm (beats per minute) improves the brain’s ability to process information. The music should have no lyrics and play softly in the background while you work or create.

The takeaway? Silence is golden, but when the world is looking more dark than light, it may be time to turn on some music, raise some dopamine, lower some cortisol, and amplify your creativity!