Favorite tunes keep you calm
Listening to their favorite music lowered anxiety among ICU patients by about one third, according to an Ohio State University study. Not just any tunes—it had to be familiar and comforting pieces, according to researchers. Don't miss these 5 tunes almost guaranteed to give you a good night's sleep.
Mood music makes you eat less
When Hardee’s gave one of its restaurants a fine-dining makeover—including soft lighting and jazz—diners ate about 18 percent less and reported enjoying their food more, according to a Cornell study in the journal Psychological Reports.
Inspiring instrumentals improve your mental focus
Uplifting concertos from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons can boost mental alertness, according to research from Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. When young adults were given a task that required intense concentration, they did better while listening to the bright “Spring” concerto versus the slower and more somber “Autumn” one.
Good music soothes and relaxes your blood vessels
forma82/ShutterstockListening to music that brings you joy causes blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow and improving cardiovascular health, a University of Maryland study found. The average upper-arm blood vessel diameter of people in the study increased 26 percent after listening to joyful music. A separate review of 26 studies covering almost 1,400 heart disease patients found that music reduced heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety. Here's how music can help you look and feel younger.
Group singing makes you happy
British researchers recently surveyed 375 people who sang in a choir, sang alone, or played on a sports team. All the activities contributed to greater emotional well-being, but people in choirs reported feeling happier than those who belted out tunes solo. Chorus members also rated their groups as more meaningful social experiences than athletes did with their sports teams. The physical act of synchrony—acting in time with others—or choral singing could promote feelings of unity. And if you love that: Say these 8 words to Siri and she will break out into song.
Playing an instrument may protect brain sharpness later in life
The more years middle-aged and older adults spent playing musical instruments as children, the faster their brains responded to speech sounds during an experiment, according to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience. A slower response could be indicative of how ably adults interpret speech. “Being a millisecond faster may not seem like much, but the brain is very sensitive to timing. A millisecond compounded over millions of neurons can make a real difference in the lives of older adults,” Michael Kilgard, a University of Texas at Dallas brain researcher who was not involved in the study, commented in a press release. This choir sings to people on the verge of dying, and it's just beautiful.
Music classes make kids more cooperative
Preschoolers who sang and played instruments as a group were a whopping 30 times more likely to help others in subsequent tasks that measured their helpfulness and problem-solving abilities, compared with a control group of kids who listened to a story, British researchers reported in 2013. These are the movies with the most rocking soundtracks ever.
A mellow playlist may ease road rage
Uber Images/ShutterstockFeel an angry outburst coming on after a driver cuts you off, or as traffic starts to build? A quick switch to mellow music helped drivers calm down and make fewer mistakes during an experiment in a simulator, according to research published in 2013 in the journal Ergonomics. This is why you get goosebumps when you listen to your favorite song.
Music therapy may help teens cope with cancer
Monkey Business Images/ShutterstockTeenagers undergoing cancer treatment who joined a music therapy program in the hospital showed improved coping skills and more resilience when compared to a control group of patients who received audio books. The patients, who were undergoing stem cell transplants, worked with music therapists to write song lyrics and produce videos. “Making music videos allows these patients to project their feelings through another outlet,” Shawna Grissom, director of child life at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, told HealthDay. “It gives them a sense of control, a medium in which they can express themselves.”
Your work will get done faster
wavebreakmedia/ShutterstockListening to happy music at work can help you complete tasks more quickly, especially if you’re doing something repetitive such as checking e-mail or filing documents. One study showed that the accuracy and efficiency of surgeons improved when they worked with the music of their choice in the background. Cornell University researchers also found that upbeat tunes help workers cooperate and make group decisions that contribute to the good of the team. This is the reason some songs get stuck in your head.