As a child, I was surrounded by music. My mom was an elementary school teacher who led the school music program, and was also a church organist and choir director. My dad founded the local music festival and eventually became the president of the provincial music festival. I took music lessons – lots of them (piano, cello clarinet, music history, music theory, and aural musicianship to name a few…). Music of all types filled our home – everything from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Bob Marley. (And, did I mention that both of my sisters are classically-trained pianists, with one having a PhD from Juilliard?)
So, it’s probably not that shocking, that as an adult, I have a real love of music. However, what’s interesting to me is that I can already see it in my son who is just shy of two. He virtually came out of the womb ready to party whenever he hears music (and this week has started demanding to be taken to the piano on a daily basis so we can sing and play together). Even my husband who is tone-deaf (sorry hon!) loves music too.
Given that love of music seems to be an innate quality for pretty much everyone I know, I thought it might be interesting to research if there is some reason for this. As it turns out – there is! Read on for my latest MindBodyGreen article for 6 reasons why you should add music to your self-care regimen.
When you focus on self-care, you probably make sure to eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. These are the basic building blocks of self-care, after all. And maybe, for bonus wellness points, you even include practices like regular massage, meditation, yoga, acupuncture and more in your self-care routine.
But let me ask you this: are you including music in your self-care routine? You heard me right: music is a powerful force for healing and an improved sense of well-being. Here are six, scientifically-backed reasons why you should definitely consider turning on some tunes for a potent addition to your wellness regimen.
1. The positive feelings evoked by music can be as powerful as sex, drugs or eating.
Researchers at McGill University took fMRIs of participants who were listening to favorite songs. They found that during peak moments of music, the participants’ brains released dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone that is linked with feelings of reward (for example, it is also released in response to sex, eating and certain illegal drugs such as cocaine).
Interestingly, dopamine was also released right before the peak moments in the songs — as if the brain was anticipating the reward to come. That’s why for many of us, listening to familiar songs can overwhelm us with positive feelings — we feel “high” because our bodies are literally experiencing a physiological reaction to the music we love.
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