Holiday Music Can Make You Healthier
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—to reap the health benefits of your favorite holiday music. Studies show that listening to music has all kinds of positive effects on your body and mind, and your favorite holiday music can be especially beneficial during what is often a busy, stressful time.
So break out the seasonal playlist or vinyl, sit back, and enjoy. Here are four ways listening to holiday music can make you healthier:
- Holiday music can improve your mood
There’s nothing like hearing a favorite old song to brighten your spirits, and holiday classics can work wonders on your mood. The nostalgia you feel listening to your favorite Harry Belafonte Christmas tune has a pleasant neurological effect in which the brain’s pleasure circuit is stimulated, releasing dopamine and serotonin (which are responsible for those happy feelings). Plus, it’ll get you in the holiday spirit—as long as the songs you’re not so fond of don’t make their way onto your playlist!
- Holiday music is good for your memory
Not only will you be happier, but listening and singing along to your favorite holiday music can actually improve your memory, too. It’s beneficial to your attention span and executive functioning, and music therapy is even useful in treating people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, some Alzheimer’s patients with severely impaired memory or ability to hold a conversation have been shown to light up and even sing along with their favorite songs. Studies show music therapy will actually help maintain or rehabilitate cognitive abilities in patients.
- Holiday music can decrease stress levels
As it turns out, those classic Christmas tunes you love are good for your heart. (Even for a Grinch with a heart two sizes too small.) Your blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels can all be decreased—thus reducing stress—when you settle back and enjoy your favorite music.
- Holiday music can even reduce pain
Music therapy has been used to treat people with chronic pain, and in one study, patients who listened to music in recovery after surgery needed less morphine to manage their pain. Active listening is key, as focusing on music engages your mind and allows less room for pain pathways in your brain. And because holiday music can help relieve stress, it also helps relieve muscle tension that leads to pain.
Not only can holiday music make you healthier, but it puts you in the holiday spirit and brings people together. So get together with your loved ones and put on your favorite classic albums!
Check out other articles from Scripps AMG on the health benefits of your favorite activities.