If there’s one good thing that came out of the pandemic, it was the studies that showed us that there are different ways for us to connect, get together, and be healthy. The effects of music are incredible, regardless of the type of music you enjoy listening to or performing. As a matter of fact, research has shown us that music allows us to feel joy, comfort, social connections, and more. To top this off, research also shows that making music with others can affect about a dozen key brain functions that can help improve our immune system.
When people were socially isolated during the pandemic, we quickly learned that there are certain benefits of music. Individuals felt less lonely and were able to experience togetherness and connections when singing on their balconies, practiced choir through Zoom, or listened to live-streamed concerts by musicians. Music was one of the elements of the pandemic that allowed us to have a sense of community and feel connected even without traditional interactions.
Researchers specifically looked at the brain during studies to see what happened as we listened to music, sang, danced, and clapped to our favorite music. The parts of the brain that were affected by music included feelings of empathy, a sense of social bonding, lower levels of stress hormones, and higher pleasure levels. When you combine these components, it shows that music also has the power to help the healing process.
Engaging multiple parts of the brain is also something that music does. When listening to or performing music, regions involved in attention, emotion, memory, and thinking skills were involved.
Increase Your Musical Exposure
Much like a good diet and exercise, music should be a part of your daily routine. Try some of the following activities to increase your musical exposure and unleash the power of your brain!
- Dance – whether you’re simply rocking to the music while you do the dishes, or you are doing the waltz in your living room, dancing greatly benefits not only your body, but your brain as well. Dancing is a form of exercise, which can increase blood flow, and as we’ve already learned, music does great things for your cognitive sharpness!
- Sing & Hum Along – When you learn new songs, it can help you improve your memory. Whether you’re doing it with a choir group, or on your own, singing and humming along to new songs is good for your health.
- Listen to Music When You Exercise – Music can encourage you to keep moving, and it helps you feel good about the exercise you are doing. Enjoying your exercise regimen can help you stick to the routine.
- Sing to Your Favorite Song Before a Stressful Event – if you have a speech to give, or you’re about to do something that stresses you out, try taking a moment to sing along to your favorite song. It will reduce your stress levels and put you in a better mood.
As a family caregiver, you can ensure that you and your loved one is exposed to more music by singing together, joining a choir group, or simply listening to records. Music can be a hobby that you enjoy together, for your happiness, and your brain health. If you need help or resources to help with this then Homewatch CareGivers of Woodbridge is here for you! We can help ensure that you have respite care so that you can go to dancing lessons, or are on hand to provide resources to local groups that your loved one can get involved in.