In the hectic world we live in, it is incredibly important to prioritize our mental health. This includes our social, emotional, and psychological well-being and affects how we think, feel, and act. Our mental health determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. While we might not be aware of it, our mental health is drastically impacted by the environments we inhabit and the day-to-day choices we make, such as how much sleep we get, our friendships and how we relate to others, as well as our jobs and the stressors that come along with it. Among the many ways to improve our mental health, listening to and performing Classical music are unique and often overlooked ways to help reduce stress, enhance our moods, provide cognitive enhancement, and improve our sleep—all of which cultivate a healthy mental state.

Stress Reduction: 

  • Classical music possesses a unique ability to soothe the mind and alleviate stress. The soothing melodic rhythms activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which leads to a relaxation response. It has also been shown that listening to classical music can significantly reduce cortisol levels, the hormone that is associated with stress. Classical music acts as a calming agent on the mind and body and can even lower blood pressure.

Mood Enhancement: 

  • Classical music has often been used as a tool to cope with difficult emotions. In times of isolation, it can be even more important to turn to music for comfort. One of the most remarkable attributes of classical music is its capability to influence emotions positively. Listening to upbeat symphonies can elevate mood, evoke feelings of happiness and contentment. On the other hand, melancholic pieces can help us process our own emotions, providing an outlet for emotional release. Listening to “sad” music helps us become more reflective and emotionally stable in times of stress. Classical music can distract the mind from negative thoughts and rumination, which helps to soothe anxiety and panic attacks.

Cognitive Enhancement: 

  • Classical music has been suggested to boost cognitive functions. The intricate compositions stimulate the neural connections that enhance memory, concentration, and creativity. Regular exposure to classical music has been shown to sharpen cognitive abilities, making it a valuable aid for those who are experiencing cognitive decline.  It has been shown that episodic memory performance increases when listening to classical music. It is even used as a way of communicating and providing peace to patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. If we have memories or pleasant experiences tied to a piece of music, listening to it at an older age can provide a sense of identity, as well as jog our memories to help us remember feelings, emotions, and experiences more fully. When speech and language is no longer an option to communicate with, music can bridge the gap between people and provide a sense of community and comfort.

Sleep Improvement:  

  • Soothing compositions have been found to improve sleep quality by creating a state of relaxation for the listener. Classical music helps individuals achieve a more peaceful and rejuvenating night's rest by helping reduce anxiety and calming the mind. It has been shown that listening to classical music can help people fall asleep more quickly and decreases the number of awakenings during the night. Classical music also triggers the release of dopamine, which can boost good feelings at bedtime and helps manage pain.

Classical music offers profound and accessible ways to enhance our emotional well-being. From stress reduction and mood enhancement to cognitive benefits and improved sleep, classical music sends us on a path of emotional healing and growth.