NEWS - News: Natural Element: Health in Harmony

Posted by USM on Sunday, April 26, 2009 @ 11:56:48 CDT

Music fights stress, ups smarts, and keeps you sound of mind—and body.

A chorus of researchers have found that music enhances mood and well-being. Here are a few of their new releases and greatest hits.

A Little Night Music

Lullabies work for adults, too. For a compelling tonic, play 45 minutes of soft music before you climb into bed and you can enjoy all the benefits of lower heart rate and slower respiration as well as some quality sleep. The sedative tones prompt a far more restful night with better, longer slumbers, and less daytime drowsiness.

On the Run

Music can improve your workout, your lungs, and your smarts. Listen to music while you cycle or trot and you'll go farther than if you exercised without the soundtrack. And the combo of tunes and treadmill boosts brainpower more than either alone; one study showed that a bout of exercise enhanced verbal fluency more when amped by Vivaldi.

Shelter from the Sniffles

There's still no cure for the common cold, but listening to music can make you less susceptible. Just half an hour of iPod time not only lowers the stress hormone cortisol and boosts feel-good endorphins but also fortifies the immune system by raising levels of immunoglobulin A, a prime defense against upper respiratory infection.

Notes to Grow On

Studying music enriches children's learning in the long term. Music lessons can affect the brain stem's sensitivity to sound, so kids' language skills improve and verbal memory is enhanced. Playing piano or studying saxophone can even raise a child's IQ.

A Major Upswing

Though minor keys can sometimes bring you down and major chords are proven vehicles of cheer, your personal taste counts most when it comes to getting a mood boost from music. Listening to the tunes of your choice—be they jazz, classical, or rap—as you study, rest, do chores, or jog can reliably sweeten temperament and increase feelings of optimism, calm, and joy.

By: Stephanie Gold for Psychology Today

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Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future.


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