How Music Can Help Stimulate Your Brain Power
If you want to get your body in good shape, go to the gym. On the other hand, if you want to keep your brain in good condition, you should listen to music!
Research shows that listening to music can lower blood pressure, limit anxiety, and even reduce pain. It can also give you a better night’s sleep, improve your mood, keep you mentally alert, and help you remember things easier.
The Many Benefits of Music
Music has a way of activating your brain. And this activation transfers over some great health benefits. These benefits are excellent for keeping your brain healthy as you age. Let’s go over what these are in more detail.
Hearing music makes you feel better. The scientific explanation is that, when listening to music, sound waves are converted into nerve impulses, which travel to multiple parts of your brain (including the areas that release dopamine).
As we all know, the neurotransmitter dopamine plays a large role in pleasure.
There is no one type of music that’s superior for providing this benefit. The best music to listen to comes down to personal preferences. For a certain person, it could be Madonna, Mozart, Slipknot, or George Strait.
Music Can Heal
Music has been shown to help adults recover from diseases and brain injuries and ease their symptoms.
A common example of this is stroke rehabilitation. A lot of adults who endure a stroke lose their ability to talk. However, many of them still retain their ability to sing. Also, speech therapists can work with them to help them regain their speaking ability through singing.
Another example is those with Parkinson’s disease. People with this disease can struggle to walk. However, music and dance will help them become stronger and improve their gait.
And when it comes to dementia, music is used by therapists and caregivers to trigger memories. For instance, helping a senior remember a song from their childhood can help them remember people and places from that time in their life.
Music can also be used to reduce agitation, which is a common side effect of dementia. It can manifest as restlessness, wandering, and aggression. Music can address restlessness (caused by boredom). It can also prevent wandering. And pleasant music is an excellent way to help calm a person with dementia down.
Music also encourages people to get moving – a key part of keeping the brain healthy. The latest research indicates that a great way of protecting your brain as you get older is to make healthy habits a part of your life. This, of course, includes routine physical activity. Music can be an excellent way to make physical activity enjoyable. It has a way of making the exercise feel easier and helps with recovery after a strenuous workout.
Whether it’s dancing, weight lifting, walking, or stretching, any kind of exercise is more enjoyable with the right music.
Socializing is always good for the brain. When people sing along together or do performances together, they feel less lonely and experience a higher quality of life than those who don’t share musical experiences with others. This is according to Julene Johnson, a professor at the Institute for Health and Aging, UC San Francisco.
Furthermore, according to reports from the GCBH, developing strong social bonds and improving one’s mental health are contributing factors for reducing the risks for cognitive decline and improving brain health.
Suppose your loved one with dementia has listened to music lately. In that case, you might have seen him, or her react positively to it, possibly changing their entire demeanor.
Studies suggest that music doesn’t just help treat dementia but also can help prevent the disease altogether. It’s for these reasons why senior assisted living communities make music a centerpiece of many activities. Extra focus is usually given to music from an era familiar to residents, as it can bring back precious, long-lost memories.
Improves Wellness Overall
Music contributes to a sense of overall wellness. How? Because music helps us recall potent memories and feelings. These thoughts and emotions improve our overall well-being.
It can be especially depressing to not be able to recall recent events. However, with music to help seniors remember fond old memories, it can be just the remedy they need to feel happier. Also, there is a consensus among experts that music can improve the quality of life of a person with dementia.
Now, how can you reap all of the wonderful benefits that music offers?
Methods of Applying Music
Music can be applied in the following ways to benefit your brain and your life.
Listen to New and Unfamiliar Music
Check out what music your grandchildren or kids are listening to. Generally speaking, most people stick to listening to the same kind of music that they listened to in their teens and 20s. Thus, music that comes from a different era is usually avoided.
This might be because unfamiliar music challenges our brain in a way that familiar music does not. It may not be pleasurable listening to new music at first. However, the unfamiliarity of the new music forces the brain to comprehend it, giving it a good workout in the process.
Reminisce About the Past
Your favorite music still serves a useful purpose. It can help you recollect old memories that would be hard to remember otherwise.
For example, listening to a favorite piece of music from the same period you’re trying to recall can be very useful. If you listened to the Beatles when you met your spouse, hearing their music again might help bring back that memory of when you first met.
Pay Attention to Your Reactions
Consider the way you react to various kinds of music. Then, pick your favorite type. One person’s musical concentration aid could be another person’s version of distracting noise. Also, music that relaxes one person might make another feel on edge.
Join a Senior Assisted Living Community
There isn’t a single day that passes in senior assisted living without music. At Vista Simi Valley, the music we play enhances the daily lives of our residents. How?
- By lifting the moods of residents
- Motivating residents to exercise
- Encouraging social activity
- Benefitting both physical and mental health