By Brooks Welch
Your favorite song might be aiding in your overall well-being.
According to a new study reported by Science Alert, the mental health boost from music is “within the range, albeit on the low end” of the same sort of impact seen in people who commit to physical exercise or weight loss programs.
According to AARP, research shows that music can have a beneficial effect on brain chemicals such as dopamine, which is linked to feelings of pleasure, and oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone.”
“Music seems to selectively activate neurochemical systems and brain structures associated with positive mood, emotion regulation, attention and memory in ways that promote beneficial changes,” Kim Innes, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University’s School of Public Health, told TIME .
A technique widely used by music therapists, that you can try at home, to relieve a patient’s stress is to practice “deep listening.” By meditating on the words, sounds, and feelings of a song, one can get in tune with their mental state and improve it.
“We can do that even when we’re feeling at our most isolated and sad,” says Suzanne Hanser, president of the International Association for Music & Medicine (IAMM) and a professor of music therapy at Berklee College of Music, “We can take control, we can be empowered by the music to feel differently.”