Mind and Body: The Connection Between Music and Brain Health

There are many things you can do to exercise your brain. Exercise, having an active social life, getting plenty of sleep, and staying mentally active are just a few. Some studies show that listening to music can improve your brain health.

Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety and improve your blood pressure. Music can improve mood, sleep quality, mental awareness, and memory. In an article on Johns Hopkins Medicine website, the Brain-Music connection is explained:

Experts are trying to understand how our brains can hear and play music. A stereo system puts out vibrations that travel through the air and somehow get inside the ear canal. These vibrations tickle the eardrum and are transmitted into an electrical signal that travels through the auditory nerve to the brain stem, which is reassembled into something we perceive as music.

Johns Hopkins researchers have had dozens of jazz performers and rappers improvise music while lying down inside an fMRI machine to watch and see which areas of their brains light up. Music is structural, mathematical, and architectural. It’s based on relationships between one note and the next. You may not be aware of it, but your brain has to do a lot of computing to make sense of it.

To Boost your Brain Health with music, try the following suggestions:

  • New music challenges the brain. Listen to new genres and explore the music your children and grandchildren are listening to. The unfamiliar sounds will force your brain to struggle and understand a new song.
  • You can still listen to the music you know and love. When you listen to familiar music, good memories come to mind and will bring you back to moments when you were younger.
  • Listen to music that calms you. Choose a tune that helps you unwind and destress.
  • Turn up the beat and get up and dance! Dancing is an excellent form of exercise.

    So, add a little bit of all of the above to your days. When you need to unwind, play something soothing. When you want to get some exercise, choose an upbeat tune. Turn on some oldies and go down memory lane and when you spend time with your children and grandchildren, let them choose the music.