Have you ever been in a bad mood, turned on your favorite music, and become instantly uplifted? This phenomenon is not uncommon. In fact, millions of people use music to alter their mood.
Music taps into the parts of our brains that deal with emotion and mood. The meter, pitch, timbre, and rhythm are all managed in the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and parietal lobe.
Because listening to music engages the whole brain, it stimulates cognitive performance. It’s no wonder Plato named music as one of four advanced subjects for general study! When you are feeling sad or anxious, try turning on some upbeat. music. It’s considered a natural antidepressant, giving the same type of euphoric high as medication, and it can make your blues fade away. Its soothing tunes release serotonin, a neurotransmitter that spreads a sense of well-being.
Music also flushes your system with another neurotransmitter: dopamine. “Dopamine helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers,” according to Psychology Today.
“It also helps regulate movement and emotional response, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.”
A new study from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital reveals that even the anticipation of pleasurable music induces dopamine release, as is the case with food, drug, and sex cues.
This particular study measured dopamine release that increased heart rate, temperature, and breathing in response to music.“ These findings provide neurochemical evidence that intense emotional responses to music involve ancient reward circuitry in the brain,” said Robert Zatorre, a neuroscientist at the Neurological Institute.
When we listen to music we enjoy, we feel a sense of well-being, excitement, or happiness, and now there is scientific evidence about why that is. Music has many benefits: It reduces stress and can change negative perception. It has lasting effects even after listening to it by modifying brain waves.
Is it magic? No, it’s music!