I cry with joy when I see happy commercials, I can even go into an immediate weep watching a touching and heartfelt piece with a happy ending. When I listen to melancholy music, I’m ready to sip tea and snuggle on the couch and if disco, Motown, R & B or upbeat bluegrass is playing, I cannot even remotely keep my body from dancing whether I’m in my kitchen or sitting in a car. People driving by must get a good laugh of me bopping down the highway singing my lungs out and grooving my seated body.
You probably already know this, but there are gobs of incredible benefits to listening to music and even more so when you sing along. According to Michelle Millis Chappel, Princeton Ph.D. in psychology, world-acclaimed singer-songwriter, speaker, coach, and author states that…
- Music makes you happier: Research proves that when you listen to music you like, your brain releases dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter.
- Music Lowers Stress and Improves Health: Listening to music you enjoy decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which counteracts the effects of chronic stress. This is an important finding since stress causes 60% of all our illnesses and disease. One study showed that if people actively participated in making music by playing various percussion instruments and singing, their immune system was boosted even more than if they passively listened.
- Music Helps You Sleep Better: Over 30% of Americans suffer from insomnia. A study showed that students who listened to relaxing classical music for 45 minutes before turning in slept significantly better than students who listened to an audiobook or did nothing different from their normal routine.
Music Reduces Depression: More than 350 million people suffer from depression around the world. A whopping 90% of them also experience insomnia. The sleep research above found that symptoms of depression decreased significantly in the group that listened to classical music before bedtime, but not in the other two groups.
- ·Music Helps Alzheimer’s Patients Remember: A non-profit organization called Music & Memory helps people with Alzheimer’s Disease and other age-related dementias remember who they are by having them listen to their dearest songs. The awakening is often dramatic. For example, after Henry listens to music from his era, this wheelchair-bound dementia sufferer who can barely speak sings Cab Calloway songs and happily reminisces about his life.
- ·Music Raises IQ and Academic Performance: Research shows that taking music lessons predicts higher academic performance and IQ in young children. In one study, 6-year-olds who took keyboard or singing lessons in small groups for 36 weeks had significantly larger increases in IQ and standardized educational test results than children who took either drama lessons or no lessons. The singing group did the best.
- Music Keeps Your Brain Healthy in Old Age: A study with healthy older adults found that those with ten or more years of musical experience scored higher on cognitive tests than musicians with one to nine years of musical study. The non-musicians scored the lowest. “Since studying an instrument requires years of practice and learning, it may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive declines as we get older,” says lead researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy.
Lesson – listen to music, learn an instrument, sing and be healthier, happier, sleep better and have more fun too!
As a recently certified broadcaster, I hope someday to have a show playing all happy tunes no matter the genre’ to bring you more smiles and more joy into your life!