Have you ever heard that music soothes the soul? Well, research shows this saying might just ring true! People experience proven physical and psychological reactions to music, which makes a CD or two a great addition to your teen’s coping skills toolbox.
How Music Affects Our Mood
We respond emotionally to the music we hear. Different beats, rhythms and lyrics produce different effects on the listener. Faster music can help you concentrate, which is why many experts recommend listening to classical piano while studying or working. To contrast, something like the Jeopardy theme song can drive you to the end of your rope.
Based on this knowledge, your teen can use music to regulate their mood. An upbeat tempo and feel-good pop music can be energizing, while slower, more mellow music can have a soothing effect and help your mind and body to relax.
The Physical Effects of Music
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Music has been proven to reduce the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) and release dopamine (the feel-good chemical) in our brains. Beyond this neural connection, you can even match music to specific tempos to reduce stress, soothe anxiety, inspire personal reflection or simply help to tune out the world.
The recommended beats per minute (bpm) for relaxation is 30–60. Research shows that at 60 bpm, your brain starts to sync up with the frequency that produces relaxation brainwaves, or alpha brainwaves. This is the frequency that your brain works at when it’s deeply relaxed. Alpha brainwaves can reduce feelings of depression and even encourage more creative thinking.
Healing Effect on Mental Illness
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Music can help you regulate your mood and reduce the symptoms of mental illness, but listening to also has the potential to have important qualitative effects.
Lyrics that have positive messages can increase your happiness and motivation. Music also helps bring you closer to the people around you and improve your relationships. Identifying with the emotions in a song could help you to understand how you’re feeling and serve as an outlet for any negative feelings.
Music therapy has even been used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. In treatment and recovery, it can help people struggling with an addiction by improving the cognitive function that helps them resist the temptation of a relapse.
Whether your teen is locked up in their room blasting heavy metal, or practicing Chopin like there’s no tomorrow, encourage them to keep at it. As long as they enjoy the music they listen to, they’re de-stressing, getting in touch with themselves and improving their overall mental health.
Feature Image: Lui Dodds