While the start of a new year is a welcome challenge full of new hope and possibility for a “fresh start” for most, it happens to fall in January which can also be one of the toughest months of the year for some. Bleak, long dark days affect mood and temperament, making it difficult assert any gusto to start the new year with a positive attitude. However, a recent study at the University of Helsinki proved that listening to classical music is not only uplifting, but can physically change our genes for the better.
Listening to Music Releases Dopamine to Increase Pleasure
Dopamine is what controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. So listening to your favourite Concerto means your brain is releasing dopamine, which in turn helps regulate emotional responses, stress, and even addictive behaviours so that we can see the positive side of things a bit more easily. These enhanced cognitive functions are a side-effect of enhanced gene activity, triggered by classical musical on a regular basis.
Classical Music Also Reduces Blood Pressure and Improves Muscle Function
Listening to music with a slow tempo for 25 minutes is also known to reduce blood pressure. By giving your good genes a boost, music slows bad genes that can cause brain degeneration and eases your heart rate thereby keeping blood pressure in normal ranges.
Musically Inclined People Benefit the Most
While noticeable benefits were found to be greatest on the test group with a musical background, whether they had played an instrument at one time or another or not, the presence of music in one’s life is still a credit to healthier, happier living. How long you listen, age, gender, and personal music preference all play a roll.
In the end, putting on Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major is never a disservice, and could mean re-training your genes to see the bright side, a therapeutic solution for Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers during these dreary winter months.
See the original Study as published on Peer J.