The Power of Music

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Music therapy might just be what you need for life’s common ailments

Music is not just entertainment; it is medicine with no side effects. The following are reasons to play on the music.

The Happiness Factor

Music can make you happy. There’s a connection between listening to soothing music and dopamine release. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a big role in mood regulation, motivation, among others. When dopamine is released, in a nutshell, you feel good, hence its name the feel-good hormone. That is why people with low dopamine levels can experience mood swings and lack of motivation. When they studied the effects of music on the brain, scientists from McGill University found that listening to your favourite music leads to the release of this feel-good hormone, making you happier. Separate studies have also shown that when you’re feeling blue and mournful, beautiful tunes can lift your spirits. Whatever your mood, music will only make it better.

Pain Relief

Are you feeling pain? Read this before you reach for a painkiller. Pain can cause stress and anxiety, and music can help with both the anxiety of pain and the pain itself. Studies have shown that music can help both during surgery and after surgery. Not just any music though. It is more effective when the person in pain chooses his own music. Postoperative pain aside, it also helps relieve chronic pain. Although the reason why has not been ascertained, the hypothesis is that is acts as a distraction from the pain and also because it cures the stress or depression that normally come as a result of chronic pain.

Sleep Aid

Insomnia is an emerging global epidemic, according to surveys, and can affect anyone from any background, although women and older people report it more. Whatever the problem is for you—waking up too early, difficulty staying asleep, or difficulty falling asleep in the first place—it can affect productivity, memory, physical and mental health. So, it should be good news that the sedative you might need is music. Listening to soothing music, such as classical music, at least half an hour before bed can help you sleep better and longer. Sleep experts suspect that it goes back to the release of dopamine which makes you relax by bringing your blood pressure and heart rate to normal. All these are recipes for a good night’s sleep.

Productivity Booster

Those repetitive and mundane tasks that are so boring they could make you cry, what if I told you that you could perform them faster and better just by playing some music? According to a large number of studies, listening to music you like will do just that. (Listening to music you dislike, however, has the opposite effect.) Running is as repetitive as it can get, and it has been proven that listening to music while running and performing other fitness activities can improve performance and accelerate recovery after a demanding workout. Repetitive tasks aside. One study showed that surgeons who listened to music closed incisions faster and better during surgery. It also helps with learning and memory, and according to researchers from Radboud University and University of Technology Sydney, creatives benefit as well because it helps them come up with better ideas.

Music albums we’re loving right now

Album: Invasion of Privacy

Artist: Cardi B

This debut has been a hit since its release in April, and it is well worth the hype. If you’re looking for a hip-hop album with tunes that will improve your performance in the gym and one that will sit right at home when having drinks with friends or on road trips…this is it. The second single off the album (it features the trio rappers Migos and their third studio album released this year is also a knockout that you should be adding to your list), is a personal favourite.

Album: Sex & Cigarettes

Artist: Toni Braxton

There is no stopping Toni Braxton if her eighth studio album is anything to go by. It features eight singles that are all worth your money. In the eponymous single, she confronts a cheating lover.  She sings, “At least try and lie to me, lie to me/Instead, you come straight to our bed/Smelling like sex and cigarettes.” But we do recommend you start with the lead single “Deadwood”, an upbeat number, that sets the stage for the whole album where she sings that she may be down but will turn around.

Album: My Dear Melancholy

Artist: The Weeknd

The title alludes to what you should expect from this album. It is dark, raw, and, well, melancholic. If you’re going through a breakup, here’s your balm. It was released months after he broke up with his girlfriend, the musician Selena Gomez. The Weeknd said in an interview with Time magazine that recording the album helped him deal with the breakup, and we’re sure it will help you too.

Album: Dirty Computer

Artist: Janelle Monáe

One word to describe Janelle Monáe’s third album, released in April: damn! Listen to the groovy lead single “Make Me Feel” and you will get what we mean. The lyrics describe the album further perfectly: “That’s just the way you make me feel/So real, so good, so f*ckin’ real”. If you love the musician Prince, you’ll love this album; he was a heavy influence. Janelle has revealed in interviews that this album is her embracing herself and her sexuality. And so should you. If you need the help with that, get “Dirty Computer”.

Album: VoiceNotes

Artist: Charlie Puth

He is back! And if you’re expecting the same sounds you got from his first album, you’re in for a wonderful surprise. Here is a rebellious version of him, that is if you call being the real you and taking charge rebellious (he said in an interview with Billboard magazine that Nine Track Mind, his first album, wasn’t him at all). This album is 42 minutes of 1980’s R&B vibe.

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