A Drug-free Way to Stimulate Your Brain

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Music stimulates the same pleasure center of your brain as a good meal or a first crush.Have you been searching for an alternative remedy to help you feel good? Well, here is some health news guaranteed to up your “pleasure quotient:” a recent study from researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute has shown that music stimulates the same pleasure center of your brain as a good meal or a first crush.

According to the researchers, music can stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain — the same pleasure-generating neurotransmitter associated with love-making, a good meal, and certain drugs, but without the prescription side effects.

Study participants were asked to bring a piece of music that consistently gave them a strong emotional response. To ensure it was the music causing the effect, recordings with lyrics or with a specific association to the listener’s past were eliminated by the research team. Participants were observed first with a PET and then an MRI scanner to see what their brains were doing while they listened to the music.

The researchers found that PET scans showed clearly that dopamine was released in direct correspondence to the music-induced “chills.” Meanwhile, the MRI scanner showed something even more interesting: the brain appeared to be registering the pleasure about 15 seconds before the climax of the music. As with love-making and chocolate cake, the researchers say, it appears the listeners were craving the next part of the music.

Now, the next time you are looking for a boost emotionally and mentally, turn on some music. It might just stimulate that pleasure center in your brain and snap you out of your funk.