Music is ubiquitous. In most places we go to, we hear music. Shops play background music, in the car, we listen to the radio, and a lot of us have our headphones on while commuting in public transport. Music makes us happier, and listening to music makes time pass faster and gives us something to do while we are jogging, sitting in the tube, or washing dishes.

So, why do we listen to music, and how does it affect us? Different cultures all have music, and we all know that it can influence our mood and change the atmosphere. A party just isn’t a party without music. Imagine traditional holidays like Christmas without Christmas carols; it just wouldn’t feel right. Every culture uses music to elevate the atmosphere when they want to celebrate and mark the difference between ordinary days and special occasions.

In our personal lives, we use music to lift our mood, to give us energy and motivation, and to deal with difficult emotions like sadness or depression. Recently, scientific studies into the impact of music on us have started to show how music influences our neurotransmitters. Different kinds of music have a different effect on the brain. For example, loud and rhythmic music causes the brain to secrete more adrenaline, which energises us. In contrast, calm and soothing music reduces the amount of noradrenaline, causing us to become more relaxed. No wonder we actually call types of music ‘calming’, ‘relaxing’ or ‘aggressive’, as those are the effects they have on us.

Music can thus have a powerful influence on our mood, emotions, and energy levels. If you are feeling down, it is always worth having a chat with your GP in order to rule out more serious health issues. You can easily book an appointment here with an app. But if you just need to calm down after a hectic day, there are many ways to use music to relax. Or, if you’re having an afternoon slump and need a little boost to get on with your work, try listening to fast, loud, and rhythmic music to raise your adrenaline levels.

Music also plays an important role in how we see ourselves. One of the fascinating things is how the music we listened to as teenagers will always appeal to us, even if our taste in music changes. Science has now started to uncover an explanation for that too. One reason is that we form the strongest memories when we are teenagers and young adults. Another reason is that we as personalities are formed during that time, and the music we listen to thus becomes a part of our core self. That is worth keeping in mind if you can influence the musical choices of your teenage child!