Part of Aging Well is maintaining a positive mood and staying energetic—which are not always easy to do. The good news is that no matter what’s happening in your life, you can shift your mood by listening to music. There are many studies that explore this phenomenon. Below are ideas from research that has been compiled by Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, which is part of Mather LifeWays, the parent company to Splendido in Tucson.
This Is Your Brain on Music
Music affects your mood because it literally changes your brain—or more specifically, your brain’s limbic system. Located in the middle of the brain, the limbic system controls instinct, mood, and sensations. When you listen to a song, the vibrations travel into your brain via nerves, where they activate the limbic system. This activation stimulates specific body systems that result in increased heart rate and endorphin levels. Tunes also touch the right hemisphere of your brain, the side associated with creativity and imagination. With these physiological changes occurring in your brain, you can see how music is capable of greatly affecting a person.
Control the Music, Control Your Mood
You can harness the power of music to boost your mood. Even with a busy schedule, you can easily incorporate some music appreciation into your routine and reap the many benefits.
Relax. Listen to soothing, calming melodies to ease stress and relieve physical and mental tensions and anxiety. Soft music is ideal during a cool down after exercising or as a way to drift off to sleep.
Get active. Get a better workout by adding some energetic music. Studies comparing a control (no music) group with an experimental (music) group show that those in the experimental group were more diligent in their workouts, more persistent, returned to the gym more often, worked out for longer periods of time, and in the long run (literally!), remained more committed to their exercise plans. Those who incorporated music into their workouts saw more long-term benefits than the control group.
Work better. Numerous studies conducted in workplaces from factories to offices conclude that listening to music while working is very beneficial for employees and their companies. Employees who get some grooves going are more productive, efficient, diligent, and even enjoy their job more than those who do not listen to music.
From its therapeutic aspects and ability to boost physical activity, to helping with relaxation and stress management, music is one major and easy path to living well!
A Sound Dedication to Music Appreciation
Within Splendido, residents Harold and Esther Goldman are known for their love of music, and their astonishing home sound system. The system, which was custom designed for their home, includes nine speakers in total. “The speakers are all phased, so that the sound is evenly distributed,” explains Harold. Each speaker handles a different part of the sound spectrum. The result, as Esther describes it, is “like having the instruments right in the room.”
The Goldmans own between 200 and 300 CDs, nearly all classical and arranged “semi-alphabetically” according to Harold, as well as some LPs. They also enjoy hearing new music, and often invite neighbors to bring favorite CDs over to share.
The couple understands the power of music and listen to some at least one hour a day, often more. “It’s cathartic,” says Harold. Esther adds, “It calms you down. You come home and put something on—it’s wonderful.”