‘Tis the season…but for what exactly depends on whom you ask! No matter what it is for you though, it’s likely stressful and exhausting at times, even if it’s full of cheer. Luckily there is one way to get into the holiday spirit and stay healthy—and that’s through music.
Holiday music is hard to resist. It brings people together, rekindles memories, and creates an energy and warmth that really captures the spirit of the season. A couple more bonuses: according to a number of studies I’ve come across as I round up my work before my holidays begin, singing and listening to music can boost immune system strength, while reducing anxiety and stress levels, and boosting mood.
Also Read : The Natural Herb That Fights Stress
The holidays can be tough on your immune system and contribute to anxiety. There are a lot of things on your mind and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, but listening to music, dancing, and singing can help. Putting on your favorite holiday albums, going to church, joining a caroling group, singing with friends (or by yourself), or taking in a concert are all great ways to relieve stress, improve your immune system, bond with others, and really enjoy the season.
In fact, a large-scale review of more than 400 research papers, which was conducted by a team at McGill University, was able to show that playing and listening to music has a clear effect on improving immune system function, mood management, and anxiety. Better yet, music was found to work more effectively than prescription drugs to lower anxiety in patients prior to surgery.
Music was also found to increase immunoglobulin A, an antibody that plays a very important role in the immunity of the mucous system and a natural killer of bacterial invaders. Results also showed it can substantially lower cortisol, while previous studies suggest music is similar to food and sex in the way it can boost dopamine, the feel-good hormone.
In fact, some research even shows music can make people who have serious cases of dementia and are virtually unresponsive to stimuli spur to life. One study I came across showed an elderly man who very rarely spoke responding to music from his era in a very dramatic fashion. When given an iPod with his favorite music playing, he instantly lifted his head and became extremely animated and talkative. When it was removed, he went back into a somber, almost unreachable state.
Music has so much to offer—including fun and laughter—and this is one of the best times of the year to experience all of the mental and physical health benefits of music.
Source for Today’s Article:
Chandra, M.L. and Levitin, D., “The Neurochemistry of Music,” Trends in Cognitive Science April 2013; 17(4): 179–193.
Glynn, S., “Music Benefits Both Mental and Physical Health,” Medical News Today web site, March 29, 2013; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/258383.php, last accessed December 17, 2014.
Rotolo, C., “How Music Affects Memory in People with Alzheimer’s,” Aging Care web site; http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/man-nursing-home-reacts-hearing-music-from-era-150484.htm, last accessed December 17, 2014.