The Science of Music and Mental Health: How to Put Together a Well-Being Playlist

| 3 min read

Woman exercising and listening to music
Music is a big part of many of our lives. Research suggests that music can stimulate the body’s mood-enhancing chemicals like endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin. It helps to energize our moods and provides outlets for us to control our state of mind. Music can even help us work through issues in our lives.
Did you know music can also help with the following?
  • Manage stress
  • Express feelings
  • Enhance memory
  • Improve communication
  • Promote wellness
  • Promote physical rehabilitation
  • Alleviate pain
If you think about it, you hear music in many public places to calm the mood and relax people. For example, train stations play classical music to relax a crowded, stressful environment. Even health care providers use music to stimulate a more ambient mood, and music is even used in therapeutic sessions.
To learn how music affects you personally, try to stay aware of the effect certain songs, genres and artists have on you.

Managing our Music

With music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, millions of songs across all genres are available at our fingertips. These platforms are packed with features that allow us to control the music we listen to, such as playlists that we can create or have been created for us, artist and genre radio stations as well as weekly playlists designed to focus on specific moods we may be feeling.
Once we become learn how our music affects us, we can use it to improve our well-being. Setting your music to shuffle is not always the best way to improve our mood. Be aware of your music choice, and make sure you know how it affects your mood.

Creating Playlists

One of the great features that music streaming platforms offer are curated playlists. These playlists range from artists you enjoy, genres and even recent releases from your favorite artists. But recently, these platforms have introduced wellness playlists, which are personalized mixes of motivational podcasts and feel-good music that can help with positivity, mindfulness and peace throughout the day. These playlists are updated once in the morning and once in the evening.
No one knows us the way we know ourselves, so creating your own playlists will have the best benefit. Actively, carefully and intentionally selecting and using your music can be a helpful way to practice mindfulness and feel more in control of your feelings. Consider the following types of playlists:
  • Music to wake up to and listen to in the morning
  • Music to feel energized
  • Music to feel happy
  • Music for venting frustration
  • Nostalgic music
Music can inspire and promote wellness. It is an essential part of culture, but it also has powerful psychological effects that can improve your health and well-being. Instead of only thinking of the entertainment benefits of music, consider the major mental benefits of incorporating music into your daily life as well. You just might find yourself feeling more motivated, happy and relaxed as a result.
Photo credit: FreshSplash

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