The Power of Music: How it Affects our Daily Lives

Photo by Alex Webster

Music affects each person in different ways. We all have our favorite genres, artists and individual songs that we use to evoke various moods and either soothe us when we’re down, or get a party started on a Saturday night. But how exactly is Drake or Adele effecting our brain and the way we see the world? Valley researched the many ways music defines who we are and how we lead our lives.

Perception and Emotions

In a study done by the Journal of Neuroscience Letters, it was proven that depending on the type of music listened to, a person was likely to define a neutral facial expression as happy or sad depending on the song heard. So, if you have been listening to melancholy music all day, it’s likely that you perceive those around you to appear sad, or you notice their subtle expressions more. Likewise, if you have been listening to happy music, you’re more likely to notice when others are happy, and can even work to evoke that feeling in them.

But sometimes sad music doesn’t always make us sad, either. The same study stated that at times we are able to understand a song, its lyrics and its intended emotion without actually feeling that emotion. This is why not all sad songs will make us cry, and instead will bring out happy feelings that make us feel good.

Personality

Believe it or not, the type of music you listen to can define your own personality. The Psychological Science Journal did a study in 2006 about how different genres present different personality types. For example, rap fans are more likely to have high self-esteem and appear more outgoing. Meanwhile, pop fans were shown to also have high self-esteem and appear gentle, but show lower levels of creativity. While this study is interesting, it’s important to remember each individual is unique, and this concept won’t always apply to everyone!

Creativity

Want to know why classical music is closely tied with higher levels of functioning when studying? It all comes down to noise levels. Higher noise levels of more aggressive, less relaxing music overwhelms our brain, causing it to work too hard and therefore making it more difficult for us to process information.

When you lower the music levels to a more moderate stage and choose more calming, slower music, we allow our brain to work just hard enough that it gets the creative juices flowing without overworking our minds. This is also why working in busy cafes or right in the middle of the Hub can be helpful when studying. All of that background noise, if not too loud, boosts your creativity!

Exercise

Most of us can’t hit the gym without our headphones. If we do unfortunately forget them, it can be hard to stay motivated and focused on completing our workout. It’s important to know that when we are feeling fatigued, our body is sending signals to our brain to ask for a break.

But, similarly to the music levels related to creativity, if you put on loud and upbeat music, you will bypass that signal and your body will be able to work through all of that fatigue much easier. A lot of our integrity and motivation during exercise relies on mental factors, which can be influenced by the music we choose.

Other than using music to pump you up before a party, or listening to upbeat songs to keep you exercising, music has a long list of different ways that it affects our lives. Taking this into account can help you tweak your study habits, improve creativity and change the way you perceive others.