By Martha Rutwaza
Everyone enjoys music in their own ways and for various reasons. These could vary from making merry, therapy, praise or worship, birds chirping, igniting emotions, mood change, or in some instances, setting pace.
You might be the kind that enjoys silence. But a slow melody, a quick beat, the chirping of birds, blowing wind sifting through tree branches, or blowing curtains that seem insignificant, might have immense health benefits to your body.
In our May edition, we described what good music is, especially for Christians. In this edition, we are exploring its benefits to your body.
Music and mood
In 2015, scientists at Microsoft built what is now dubbed “The quietest room”. While in this chamber, you can hear your blood move.
However, from their own research, the scientists found that only a few people were able to stay in this chamber for at most an hour because without any outside noise, the silence turns unbearable to the ears.
Soothing jangled nerves is one thing. Raising sagging spirits is another.
Bright, cheerful music can make people of all ages feel happy, energetic, and alert. Music may even have a role in lifting the mood of people with depressive conditions.
Listening to music seems to distract us from the weary road we travel.
That is why it is common for one to turn on the radio and listen to music. It brings a sense of well-being.
Music consists of individual notes that are constructed for the purpose of noise.
When they are orchestrated into harmony, our souls rest in the tranquility of gentle sounds.
Music and pace
The art of living is to orchestrate and organize one’s life so that the various events and demands can be produced without colliding with one another and creating noise. I can say the same for music.
Researchers have long claimed that listening to music can help one perform tasks more efficiently. While exercising, I go for long hours while playing music, unlike when the room is silent.
Listening to music can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for improving health and well-being.
Music is most of the time, perceived as entertainment, but that is not all. It can also encourage creativity and help us become more productive.
Music and stress
Listening to music is therapeutic; relieves feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety, among others.
Researchers suggest that it is not the type of music that is important in helping you stay focused, productive or peaceful, but the tempo of the music.
According to research by Dr Emma Gray, a cognitive behavioural therapist at Spotify, listening to music set in the 50-80MHZ beat range puts the brain into alpha state.
When we are awake, we are typically in a state of mind known as beta; a heightened state of alertness where our brain wave activity is between 14 and 30MHZ.
Hertz (HZ) is the measure of frequency per unit of time. When our brain slows to between 7 and 14 HZ, we are in a more relaxed alpha state of mind that allows us to be more receptive and open and less critical.
If you have ever listened to music that you are familiar with only to find yourself deep in thought and not really hearing the music at all, this is an alpha state induced by music.
You are turning out while being turned in. It works best to find songs you are familiar with and set at 50 to 80 beats per minute.
I love classical music. The absence of words in this kind of music may be one factor that sets it apart as songs with lyrics tend to be a distraction when trying to focus.
Classical music is known for being calming, relaxing, and helps reduce stress.
Music is therapeutic
Listening to the sounds of nature like waves crashing or a babbling brook has been shown to enhance cognitive function and concentration.
Nature sounds work best when they are soothing sounds such as a flowing waterfalls or rain, while more jarring noises such as birdcalls and animal noises can be distracting.
Calming nature sounds have a restorative effect on cognitive abilities.
Try listening to a waterfalls, water drops, rain falling, flowing water, and the sound of a calm, blowing wind whenever you want to cool off.
Whether you are looking to complete that project you are not excited about, or trying to block out a noisy workplace, switch on your headphones and work away with music.