The second you push play, lightning-fast sound waves pass through your eardrums and jiggle the bones of your inner ears. Those vibrations then trigger nerve signals, which speed through your brain, setting off a series of reactions that could affect your. . .
The amygdala, one of the brain's emotional depots, quickly analyzes chords and tones to determine whether the music ' appeals to youÃ¢â‚¬”and just how passionate your response will be.
If you dig the beat, your nucleus accumbens, a major player in the brain's reward system, releases the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. (Yup, the same one involved in that legendary "sex, drugs, and rock-'n'-roll" high.)
Nerve cells that fire together wire togetherÃ¢â‚¬”so the next time you play this tune, your brain may call up what you were doing and how you were feeling when you heard it last. It's a powerful connection: When you're wallowing, cue up a jam from a happier time.
Music is an intellectual experience; in order to understand and appreciate its complexity, you need to use your noggin. Specifically, your prefrontal cortex, the brain's center for executive thought. This may be why listening to music is often linked to better brain function.
Stress and Heart Rate
Hearing mellow music might help your body dial down the production of stress hormones like cortisol or epinephrine. (Over time, high levels of these can harm your health.)
Calming tunesÃ¢â‚¬”like what you'd hear at a spaÃ¢â‚¬”might also prompt a slowing of your heart rate or a deepening of your breathing.
Metabolism and Immune System
Relaxing sounds might increase your body's production of growth hormone, which, in turn, promotes a healthy metabolism. They can help keep dangerous inflammation in check tooÃ¢â‚¬”crucial for a healthy immune system.
All types of music seem to have an in-the-moment crushing effect on pain and anxiety. So if you're in, say, the dentist's chair for some scary drill work, power up your favorite playlist.