My number one New Year’s resolution is to buy less material goods (makeup, clothes, handbags…the list goes on) but more music, based on the premise that experiences make us happier than possesions. With this in mind, here are five reasons why music is good for you.
1. Music boosts IQ
Ok, so the reliability of the Mozart effect, whereby babies who listen to Mozart are more intelligent, is difficult to prove. But there are studies showing that music increases spatial ability and concentration.
Listen to: Relaxing music has been found to temporarily boost IQ. I suggest ‘Suite No.3 in D Major’ by Bach – simply saying it makes you sound intelligent.
2. Music is good for your health
Music can lower blood pressure and boost immunity. Music therapy has been found to reduce pain and even aid cancer recovery. So swap Calpol for Colplay, Paracetamol for Pink Floyd and Vicks for Villagers – phew.
Listen to: Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s free (to wear sunscreen), of course.
3. Music is a powerful bonding tool
Music transcends generations and brings people together – friends, potential friends, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and nieces. It’s also a powerful pulling tool. As noted by Liam Neeson in Love Actually: “Meatloaf definitely got laid at least once. For God’s sake, Ringo Starr married a Bond girl.”
Listen to: ‘We are your friends’ by Justice Vs. Simian and The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’.
4. Music boosts happiness
Music is strongly connected with emotions. Listening to songs you love stimulates production of ‘the pleasure hormone’ dopamine – the same chemical associated with laughter, sex and good food.
Listen to: Loud music with a strong and fast beat has been found to trigger happy feelings. Try Arcade Fire’s ‘Month of May’ or ‘Wreckin’ bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ from band de jour The Vaccines.
5. Music is a stress buster
Not a novel concept, granted. There are hundreds of relaxation compilations lining the walls of HMV (other record stores are available) and being played in spas and yoga classes. But surely this is just testament to the strong relaxing power of music.
Listen to: Bon Iver ‘The Wolves (Act I and II)’ and Chris Isaak ‘Wicked Game’, cheesy but relaxing.