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Winter has settled in. As have the winter blues. Anyone might feel a little bummed after being stuck in the house all day. If it isn’t the sub-zero temperatures keeping you inside it could also be the million different viruses floating around. This time of year is more important than ever to find ways to boost your health, both mentally and physically. Have you ever considered how music might just do that? Here are seven ways I’ve found music has benefited my health.
An upbeat song improves my mood. How can I not be in a better mood after listening to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams? I can’t help but clap and sing along even after the song is over. The only time I’m not so “happy” is when it has been on repeat per the request of my five year old.
>> Read more: How to Get a Handle on Your Mood Swings
A sad song is cathartic. Ever had one of those crappy days where nothing seems to be going right, but nobody really cares to hear about it? To me, there is no better time to fire up the iPod and listen to a really sad song. It purges my soul. After the song is over and maybe a few tears have been shed I feel a lot better. In the words of Elton John, “Sad songs they say so much, so turn it up, turn it on, turn on those sad songs.”
Music can also inspire a trip down memory lane. In my mind a trip down memory lane is always a good thing especially if the memories are good. It could be the song from my high school prom, or a song from the care-free summer days of college. Hearing these songs always puts a smile on my face.
>> Read more: 7 Benefits of Music
A good workout playlist can make me work harder: I have those days, just as everyone else does, when I just really don’t feel like doing anything, much less lacing up my running shoes. There are a million other things I would rather be doing but I’ve found that sometimes if I can get myself out there, a good upbeat song my just be the nudge I need to complete that workout. Sometimes, if the playlist is really good, I find I’ve put more effort in than I thought I would.
>> Playlist: Pump-Up Music
Classical music relaxes me after a stressful day. I found this to be especially true while I was in the nine-to-five work force. I would often turn on classical music during the drive home. I could almost feel the stress drain from my body the closer I was to home.
>> Read more: Your 20-Minute Stress Relieving Workout
Reduces pain: According to a 2013 USA Today article, “music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain.” I once brought my head phones to the dentist when I was having a cavity filled. I do have to admit, I think it helped. If nothing else, it helped to drown out the sound of the drill.
Suppress appetite: The same USA Today article also states that music can help people eat less. “One study found that playing soft music (and dimming the lights) during a meal can help people slow down while eating and ultimately consume less food in one sitting (perhaps because slowing down helps them to be more mindful of fullness cues).”
>> Read more: 20 Best Appetite Suppressants