10 Psychological Benefits of Listening to Music

Not just for entertainment purposes, research shows that music has numerous well-being benefits too.

Fahim Chughtai
Apr 17 · 7 min read
10 Undeniable Psychological Benefits Of Listening to Music
image source/Canva

Listening to music has always been for entertainment value, but more and more research is showing the psychological and wellness benefits that music can have on us too.

Music can help to unwind your mind, energize the body, and even help individuals better manage anxiety.

The idea that music can affect your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors probably don't come as much of a surprise. Most people have probably at some point felt joy while dancing around to a fast-paced pop anthem or been moved to tears by a sad classical piece.

Some research even indicates that your preference for music may provide insight into different characteristics of your personality, which in turn can help you better understand yourself.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the benefits that music can bring us.

1. Music May Help You Sleep Better

Insomnia is a significant problem that affects individuals of all ages. When there are many approaches to treating this problem, studies have demonstrated that listening to relaxing classical music may be a secure, effective, and reasonably affordable remedy.​

In a study looking at college students; participants listened to classical music, an audiobook, or nothing whatsoever at bedtime for three weeks. Researchers evaluated sleep quality before and after the intervention.

The analysis found that participants who had listened to music had considerably better sleep quality than those who’d listened to this audiobook or received no intervention.

2. Music Can Help Manage Pain

Research has proven that music can be pretty valuable in the management of pain. One study of fibromyalgia patients found that those who listened to music for only 1 hour a day experienced a significant decrease in pain than those in a control group.

After the four-week analysis period, participants who’d listened to music each day experienced significant reductions in feelings of depression and pain. Such results suggest that music therapy might be an essential tool in treating chronic pain.

A 2015 evaluation of a study on the effects of music on pain control found that patients who listened to music before, during, or after surgery experienced less pain and stress than those who didn’t listen to songs.

3. Music Can Improve Cognitive Performance

Research suggests that background music or music played while the listener is primarily focused on another action, can enhance cognitive activities in older adults. One study found that playing more upbeat music contributed to improved processing speed, while both upbeat and downbeat music contributed to benefits in memory.

So the next time you are working on a job, consider turning on just a piece of music in the background if you are looking to boost your mental performance.

Consider picking instrumental tracks instead of those with complex lyrics, which might end up being more distracting.

4. Music Could Decrease Stress

Music can help reduce or manage stress. Consider the trend based on meditative music made to soothe the mind and inducing relaxation. Luckily, this is one trend supported by research. Listening to music may be an effective means to cope with stress.

In one 2013 study, participants participate in one of 3 conditions before being subjected to a stressor and then taking a psychosocial stress evaluation.

The results suggested that listening to music affected this human stress response, particularly the autonomic nervous system. People who’d listened to music tended to recover more quickly after a stressor.

5. Music Can Help Your Eating Habits

Among the most surprising psychological benefits of music is that it may be a helpful weight-loss tool. If you are trying to lose weight, listening to music and dimming the lights might help you reach your aims.

According to a study, individuals who ate in low-lit restaurants where soft music had been played consumed 18% less food than people who ate in other restaurants.

The investigators suggest that lighting and music help create a more relaxed setting. Considering that the participants were relaxed and comfy, it’s possible they had consumed their meals more slowly and have been more mindful of when they started to feel complete.

By producing a relaxing setting, you may be more inclined to eat slowly and, therefore, feel fuller sooner.

6. Music Can Improve Your Memory

Lots of pupils enjoy listening to music while they study, but is that such a great thought? Some feel listening to their favorite music as they study improves memory, while others assert that it simply serves as a pleasant distraction.

Research indicates that it might help. It depends upon an assortment of factors, including the type of music, the listener’s enjoyment of that music, and how musically well-trained the listener could be.

In one study, musically naïve students learned better when listening to positive music, perhaps because these songs elicited more positive feelings without interfering with memory formation.

However, musically trained pupils tended to do better on learning evaluations when listening to neutral music, maybe because this kind of music was less distracting and easier to ignore.

If you are inclined to find yourself distracted by music, you may be better off learning in quiet or with impartial tracks playing in the background.

Another study found that participants learning a new language showed improvement in their knowledge and abilities when they practiced singing new words and phrases versus just regular speaking or rhythmic speaking.

7. Music Can Improve Motivation

There’s a great reason you find it much easier to exercise as you listen to songs. Scientists have discovered that listening to rapid music motivates people to work out harder.

One experiment designed to explore this impact tasked 12 healthy male pupils with cycling on a stationary bicycle at self-paced speeds.

The participants biked for 25 minutes on three distinct trials while listening to a playlist of six different popular tunes of different tempos.

Unknown to the listeners, the researchers made subtle differences to the music and then measured performance. The music has been left at a standard speed, increased by 10 percent, or diminished by 10%.

Speeding up the tracks resulted in increased performance in terms of distance covered, pedaling speed, and electricity exerted.

Conversely, slowing down the music pace led to decreases in all of these variables.

Therefore, if you are trying to stick to a workout regimen, consider loading up a playlist full of fast-paced tunes that will help boost your motivation and pleasure of your exercise regimen.

8. Music Can Improve Mood

Another of the science-backed advantages of music is that it just might make you happier. In one evaluation of why people hear music, researchers discovered that music played an important role in relating arousal and mood.

Participants rated music’s ability to help them attain a better perspective and become more self-aware as among the most important music functions.

Still, another study found that intentionally attempting to boost moods by listening to upbeat music might affect fourteen days. Participants were taught to purposefully try to better their mood by listening to good music every day for two weeks.

Other participants listened to music but weren’t directed to become happier intentionally. When participants were later asked to describe their heights of happiness, those who had deliberately attempted to improve their moods reported feeling happier after just a couple of weeks.

9. Music May Reduce Symptoms of Depression

Scientists have also discovered that music therapy can be a safe and effective cure for many disorders, such as depression. One study found that music therapy was a safe, low-risk approach to reduce depression and anxiety in patients suffering from neurological conditions such as stroke, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

While music can undoubtedly affect mood, the sort of music can be significant. Classical and meditation music offers the greatest mood-boosting positive aspects, while heavy metal and techno music are ineffective and even detrimental.

10. Music Can Improve Endurance and Performance

Another important psychological advantage of music is based on its ability to boost performance. While individuals have a favorite step frequency when running and walking, scientists have discovered that the addition of a strong, rhythmic beat, such as a fast-paced musical track, could inspire people to pick up the pace.

Runners aren’t simply able to run faster while listening to music; they also feel much more inspired to stick with it and display greater endurance.

While research has discovered that synchronizing body moves to music may lead to better performance and increased stamina, the result will be the most conspicuous in cases of low to moderate-intensity exercise.

In other words, the average person is more likely to reap the rewards of listening to songs more than a professional athlete could.

So why does music boost workout performance? Listening to music while exercising lowers an individual’s perception of exertion. You are working harder, but it doesn’t look like you’re putting forth more effort.

Because the music diverts your attention, you’re not as inclined to notice the apparent signs of exertion, for example, increased respiration, perspiration, and muscle soreness.

Final Thoughts

Music can undoubtedly entertain us, but also, it has powerful psychological benefits that can improve our well-being too. Instead of thinking of music as pure amusement, think about some of the significant mental benefits of integrating music into your everyday life to help in any of the areas above that you may struggle with.

You may just find that you feel more motivated, happy, and relaxed as an outcome.

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Thanks to Elizabeth Dawber

Fahim Chughtai

Written by

Follow me for personal development, mental health issues and well-being. Subscribe to my Newsletter. https://mailchi.mp/de246d642a08/fahim-chughtai

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

Fahim Chughtai

Written by

Follow me for personal development, mental health issues and well-being. Subscribe to my Newsletter. https://mailchi.mp/de246d642a08/fahim-chughtai

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

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