Why does music makes you happy, transport you to another place, give you chills, or just plain make you feel better? What makes you tune in and choose to turn on your favorite music to move your mood up a beat and all in just a few minutes or even less?
Music has been an integral part of life throughout history. It has played a part in celebrations of all kind including religious, transitional and social. Think of the beating drums of an early society, the echoing flute of a monastary, the haunting chords of an organ in an ancient cathedral.
We relax and enjoy ourselves in musical settings. Music sets a particular tone for different events. Memories are activated when listening to music from different stages of our lives.
Dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, is apparently behind this effect according to numerous research studies. Many parts od the brain are activated when listening to music, particularly the reward centers releasing chemicals into the brain that trigger mood changes. A similar process occurs when we eat chocolate, have sex or use drugs along with other pleasurable activities.
Excitement, calm, happiness, sadness, love can all be elicited by the notes of a paticular song or piece of music. Levitwyler found that people breathe faster when listening to upbeat music which he says can indicate a greater level of happiness. He also found that slower, minor key music can elevate blood pressure and slow the pulse.
Psychologists at the University of London showed showed that in as little as 15 seconds music can cause a mood shift. So the next time you’re feelig blue, need a good cry, want to perk up your mood remember one of the best self help tips around: Tune in to your favorite tunes.