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Health benefits of music

Health benefits of music
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Music is packed with hidden health benefits… so read on to feel virtuous next time you pop on those headphones or pick up a guitar.

Favourite tunes keep you calm

Favourite tunes keep you calm
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Listening to their favourite music lowered anxiety among ICU patients by about one third, according to an Ohio State University study. Not just any tunes – it had to be familiar and comforting pieces, according to researchers.

Learn the 13 things you should never say to someone suffering with anxiety.

Mood music makes you eat less

Mood music makes you eat less
Mood music makes you eat less

When a US fast food chain gave one of its restaurants a fine-dining makeover – including soft lighting and jazz – diners ate about 18 per cent less and reported enjoying their food more, according to a Cornell study in the journal Psychological Reports.

Inspiring instrumentals improve your mental focus

Inspiring instrumentals improve your mental focus
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Uplifting concertos from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons can boost mental alertness, according to research from Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. When young adults were given a task that required intense concentration, they did better while listening to the bright “Spring” concerto versus the slower and more sombre “Autumn” one.

Group singing makes you happy

Group singing makes you happy
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British researchers recently surveyed 375 people who sang in a choir, sang alone, or played on a sports team. All the activities contributed to greater emotional well-being, but people in choirs reported feeling happier than those who belted out tunes solo. Chorus members also rated their groups as more meaningful social experiences than athletes did with their sports teams. The physical act of synchrony – acting in time with others – or choral singing could promote feelings of unity.

Playing an instrument may protect brain sharpness later in life

Playing an instrument may protect brain sharpness later in life

The more years middle-aged and older adults spent playing musical instruments as children, the faster their brains responded to speech sounds during an experiment, according to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience. A slower response could be indicative of how ably adults interpret speech. “Being a millisecond faster may not seem like much, but the brain is very sensitive to timing. A millisecond compounded over millions of neurons can make a real difference in the lives of older adults,” Michael Kilgard, a brain researcher who was not involved in the study, commented in a press release.

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Good music soothes and relaxes your blood vessels

Good music soothes and relaxes your blood vessels
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Listening to music that brings you joy causes blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow and improving cardio­vascular health, a University of Maryland study found. The average upper-arm blood vessel diameter of people in the study increased 26 per cent after listening to joyful music. A separate review of 26 studies covering almost 1400 heart disease patients found that music reduced heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety.

Here are 9 reasons your heart is racing – for completely normal reasons.

Music classes make kids more cooperative

Music classes make kids more cooperative
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Preschoolers who sang and played instruments as a group were a whopping 30 times more likely to help others in subsequent tasks that measured their helpfulness and problem-solving abilities, compared with a control group of kids who listened to a story, British researchers reported in 2013.

A mellow playlist may ease road rage

A mellow playlist may ease road rage
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Feel an angry outburst coming on after a driver cuts you off, or as traffic starts to build? A quick switch to mellow music helped drivers calm down and make fewer mistakes during an experiment in a simulator, according to research published in 2013 in the journal Ergonomics.

There are 9 types of anger: which one is yours?

Music therapy may help teens cope with cancer

Music therapy may help teens cope with cancer
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Teenagers undergoing cancer treatment who joined a music therapy program in the hospital showed improved coping skills and more resilience when compared to a control group of patients who received audio books. The patients, who were undergoing stem cell transplants, worked with music therapists to write song lyrics and produce videos. “Making music videos allows these patients to project their feelings through another outlet,” Shawna Grissom, director of child life at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, told HealthDay. “It gives them a sense of control, a medium in which they can express themselves.”

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