We’ve all experienced that rush of emotion when a particular song starts to play. You hear it, and turn the radio up in the car, or sing along in the shower. Whether it’s a “remember when” moment, or something that makes us want to stomp our feet in time with the melody, music has the power to intensify and even change our mood.
And it’s no wonder. Music has been a powerful part of the human experience since ancient days. Our most important celebrations have been amplified through the pounding of drums and the singing of particular tunes. And the power of music has persisted through the centuries. It only takes a short stroll out in public to see how people are tuned in to their electronic devices, bobbing their heads to the music, mouthing the lyrics – sometimes even singing them aloud.
Because music is such an integral part of every world culture, there is a storehouse of research about music spanning the centuries. Among the subjects researchers have investigated is the effect of music on mood.
Sad vs. Happy Music
What makes you choose a particular song to listen to – sometimes putting it on loop to hear it over and over again? The music we choose can energize us, bringing us out of a funk. Or it can help us cope with a particularly rough chapter in our lives.
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people who were mired in a tough time, such as a breakup, tended to prefer sad music. The study’s authors suggested that the sad music was a kind of substitute for the lost relationship, a sort of stand-in for a truly understanding friend. In this way, sad music can provide a sincere feeling of comfort, helping you cope as you deal with your emotions.
The right music can also brighten someone’s outlook. A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology asked people to listen to different types of music to improve their mood, finding that those who listened to upbeat music were able to make themselves substantially happier in as little as two weeks.
Music Therapy: a Major Component of SteamTherapy
In many ways, this is what Music Therapy is all about. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals.” Today, Music Therapy is used to help people improve mood, restore energy, and heal more naturally.
This is one significant reason why Music Therapy is a major component of SteamTherapy. We’ve spoken often about the benefits of steam bathing in terms of relaxation, stress management, and better health. Couple that with the proven effects of music while unwinding in the steam shower – or even just escaping the stresses of daily life in your home spa – and it’s no wonder a good song will prompt you to sing along in the shower!
Using Music to Improve Mood
Here are some ways that music has been shown to improve your mood:
- Music, especially soothing music, can have a profound effect on the body and the brain. It can foster the release of serotonin, a hormone that imparts a feeling of well-being. It also increases dopamine production, a neurotransmitter that elevates your mood. Music also helps your body release of norepinephrine, a hormone that promotes a sense of euphoria.
- Music has a lasting effect on your brain waves. Even after you turn off the music, the effect of listening to it lingers on by changing your brainwaves, helping your positive perspective stick around for hours – or even days. This is one reason why Music Therapy is often prescribed for depression, as well as with patients with serious medical conditions such as cancer, burns, and multiple sclerosis.
- Music can help you overcome feelings of sadness. As noted above, listening to lively music can help you turn that frown upside down.
- Music is a motivator. The messages that are embedded in music – particularly upbeat and inspirational music – can inspire you to overcome failure and try again. It can also help you focus and learn something difficult by pairing your learning with rhythm and song. And, of course, we all know that music can help us get through difficult physical activities – such as a forced military march or a particularly challenging work out.
- Music reduces stress. Had a bad day at the office? The kids getting on your nerves? Turn on some soothing music and feel how your muscles relax and your breathing slows down. By changing your physiology, music can change your mood from cranky to relaxed and cheerful. Health professionals know this, and often pipe in soothing sounds in such anxiety-provoking environments as dentist offices and medical treatment rooms.
- Music – the right music, that is – helps you sleep. We were all calmed to sleep as infants and young children by lullabies. Sometimes when we have trouble falling asleep, soft music helps us drift into slumber. But beware too much stimulation from lively music before bedtime!
Clearly, music is a powerful way for you to control a bad mood, change your perception of how life is treating you, and find the right emotional chord. Music, however, is not a one-size-fits-all remedy.
The music that cheers one person may not have the same effect on someone else. Knowing that music selection is wholly within your control should help you play around with songs, artists, and different types of music, noting what helps and what you simply perceive as noise.
Through such awareness, you may learn to use music as a tool to manipulate your world view at a basic neural level.
Today’s streaming music services tap into this by preselecting music for a specific time of day – slower songs during the early evening drive time, for instance. They also allow you to select specific playlists to suit your mood. Such categories as “work out,” “relax,” or “party” are tailored to the emotional responses you want to invoke.
But don’t come to depend on a single track – or a single playlist – too much.
It’s been shown that the randomness of song choices also increases the body’s dopamine transmitters, and that if you can predict what song is coming next, you miss out on the unexpected joy of being surprised by a song you love but haven’t heard in awhile.
This is one good reason to use your electronic devices in shuffle mode, which can reward you with a tune you didn’t expect.
AudioWizard, the Perfect In-shower Music Delivery System
Taking this into account, MrSteam’s AudioWizard is the perfect in-shower music delivery system.
A streaming Bluetooth sound system that can be used in any shower, with or without a MrSteam shower system, AudioWizard plays digital music files or internet radio wirelessly, from your smart phone or device.
This gives you the ability to personally select specific music to help improve or enhance your mood, as well as surprise yourself with a long-forgotten song that may just hit the spot.
If your steam shower has been silent for too long, we recommend the clearly evident benefits of Music Therapy. We’re convinced you’ll find it boosts your mood and makes your steam experience all the more satisfying!