Designing a healthy life has numerous components—a whole-foods eating plan, regular exercise, plenty of sleep and yes, for many of us, sobriety. But it doesn’t have to be all rules and no fun! One of the best ways to add joy to your life daily is to listen to music.
Science Reinforces How Music Helps Us
Few things in life can enhance your mood, improve concentration, and provide comfort as well—and as easily—as music. Because it has so much power to affect us, scientists study the impact of it all the time. Here are some examples.
Get Your Groove On
According to Japanese researchers, listening to music “with a groove” enhances brain function in people who enjoy such upbeat tunes. Their 2022 findings indicated that “individual differences in psychological responses to groove music modulate the corresponding effects on executive function. As such, the effects of groove rhythm on human cognitive performance may be influenced by familiarity or beat processing ability.”
In 2019, a study team led by Tomas E. Matthews at Concordia University hinted to the “power of the groove” as well, stating that “In the psychology literature, groove is defined as the pleasurable desire to move to music…. you want to move, dance, or tap along to it, and that feels good.”
Researchers at Queen Mary University discovered that when people suffering from chronic pain had an opportunity to choose preferred musical selections, they experienced more relief. The study authors noted that “now we know that the act of choosing music is an important part of the well-being benefits that we see from music listening. It’s likely that people listen more closely, or more carefully, when they choose the music themselves.”
A Georgia-based pain management clinic states that listening to music you enjoy might provide a welcoming distraction by stimulating natural opioids in the brain, thus lessening the effects of pain and also “reducing depression and anxiety, which are also two causes of chronic pain.”
Improve Your Mood
The Journal of Positive Psychology shares insight that listening to “positive music may be an effective way to improve happiness, particularly when it is combined with an intention to become happier.”
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center indicates that music helps reduce stress hormone production, which in turn helps us feel less anxious and depressed, as well as provides a much-needed boost in confidence and energy.
Fuel Your Brain
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that “listening to or playing music is a great tool—it provides a total brain workout.” Researchers at the center studied jazz musicians and rappers to see how their brains responded. “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.” Their conclusion? Listening to music every day improves mental alertness, memory, sleep quality, creativity, and mood.
Music as Holistic Therapy
Just as you might consider spiritual practices, moments of mindfulness, and other holistic therapies to enhance sober living, make sure to turn up the dial for music, too.
The point of a holistic approach to wellness is to tap into your whole self and use various means to relax, reduce stress, and create deliberate space each day for a reset. All too often, we’re on the run, juggling many tasks and obligations. What happens when we simply stop and recalibrate ourselves? Holistic methods—which are often easily accessible, free, and require minimal training—provide insight into different ways to find peace.
Music therapy is often a method used in inpatient rehabilitation facilities because of these and other factors. If you’re not in a place where you can work with a professional, you can still explore how music improves your daily life.
Including Music Throughout Your Day
Now more than ever before, there are dozens of ways to listen to music you love, discover new tunes, and share the positive experience with others. Here are some ideas:
- Start each day with a “mindset playlist” featuring songs that never fail to lift your spirits. These favorites set the tone for how you want the rest of the hours to unfold.
- Likewise, have different go-to lists of tunes that help you through all emotional stages, including when you feel a little blue, annoyed, or troubled, so you can work through your feelings.
- Make a point to listen to new music. Sure, you might not initially be drawn to a particular artist or genre at first, but this helps your brain make new connections—and you might like some of it!
- Watch music videos online. Even if you didn’t grow up with the groundbreaking music television channels, it’s still fascinating to watch a band perform or see a movie-like interpretation of a song.
- Share a musical experience with others through live performances. Seeing real people create art on the spot, and being in a different environment boosts connection and helps you expand your horizons. Many communities frequently feature free live acts, but if you have a little money to spare for local concerts, you’re helping to create a more vibrant arts community, and that makes you feel good, too.
Whole-Person Care at Willingway
Managing sobriety successfully for life is all about using trusted techniques that expand your capabilities for true positive living. If you or someone you love needs progressive addiction treatment in Georgia, Willingway might be the place. For 50 years, our experienced professionals cultivate whole-person health with not only evidence-based treatment methods, but also aspects of holistic care to reveal many possibilities for creating an enriching life.