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The power of music: How it affects our minds and emotions

Music can make us feel happy, sad, anxious, thrilled, angry, excited, joyous, and/or relaxed. Music also boosts our immune system and can create positive emotional experiences. Music can even help relieve pain.

Music creates powerful responses.

Uplifting and upbeat music may lead to the release of neurotransmitters associated with reward, such as dopamine. Even sad music brings most listeners pleasure and comfort, according to recent research from Durham University in the United Kingdom and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who intentionally listened to upbeat music improved their moods and happiness in just two weeks.

Music has been shown to boost our immune system and can create positive emotional experiences. It can also improve blood flow in ways similar to statins, lower your levels of stress-related hormones like cortisol, and ease pain. Listening to music before an operation can even improve post-surgery outcomes.

Music can also agitate and unsettle. Just think about the music to Jaws, Halloween or some other scary film and the reaction that creates. Often it is the music and the anticipation that is scary rather than what is happening, or not happening, on screen.

When we get lost in music that we enjoy we can enter a trance-like state. This doesn’t have to be trance music, it can be anything and will be different for everyone. Music is a way to bypass our rational side and to get in touch with the unconscious mind. It can evoke powerful memories or transport us to new places. Just a few notes of a special song can take us right back to a specific place or time, or more generally a song can bring back broader feelings of a certain part of our past. All these things happen each and every day, when we hear music on the radio, in the supermarket, etc. So why not use that to boost our mood and make us smile. If we are feeling a bit low or lacking motivation, actively seeking out music that will help change our mood can make a big difference.

So what’s your up to happy song? That one song that will always put a smile on your face?

Further reading:

Malcolm Struthers Hypnotherapy - Online and in-person in Dumfries & Galloway


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