A few years ago a theory called the Mozart Effect was being publicized as a way to make people smarter. The idea stemmed from a study that found that daily doses of Mozart boost a student’s IQ. Although that theory was soon dispelled, anyone who has ever hummed a tune can certainly attest to music’s power to soothe. In a study of 30,000 people from 30 countries, 56 percent reported that they use music as a way to unwind at home from a hectic day.
But music can also enhance recovery. In a study of 500 postabdominal surgery patients, those who listened to relaxing music while practicing breathing techniques required less pain medication than others.
And while listening to music may not make you smarter, playing it might. One study found that teaching healthy elderly people to play music decreases their anxiety, depression and loneliness. In fact, participants who took music lessons increased their levels of human growth hormone—an interesting finding for scientists trying to uncover ways to reverse the aging process.
Music as a method of brain stimulation, recovery aid or all-around de-stresser can also be a part of your home life. Put on a favorite tune and try to remember the first time you heard the song.
If you’d like to explore your musical inclinations, how about signing up for music lessons? Even attending music events in your area can do wonders for your well-being.