Music Can Make You Happy & Healthy—Or Not!


Blessed by Martina McBride

It doesn’t take a genius or a scientist to know that music has the ability to lift our mood and make us feel happier.  In fact I’ll bet every single one of us can think of a song that played at a pivotal moment in our lives and be instantly transported back to that time and place the minute it plays. Or I’ll bet you can remember a time when your all-time favorite song spontaneously came over the radio and you burst out in song and/or dance with a smile on your face.  But if we all know music can make us happy, why don’t we use music more regularly to experience greater happiness and motivate our actions when necessary? More importantly, are we willing to consider that music might even alter the very chemistry of our bodies and positively influence our overall health.

Let’s start with the facts.  A now classic study done by Suvi Saarikallio and Jaakko Erkkila from the University Of Jyvaskyla, Finland provides documented research proving that music has the power to affect mood regulation in adolescents. There are dozens of more studies available just by googling the question.  And if music has the power to effect teenagers, then the rest of us are equally susceptible.  The specific benefits found by these studies offer a great short list of the benefits of music:

  1. Entertainment – At the most fundamental level music provides stimulation. It lifts the mood before any event, it passes the time while doing cleaning, it accompanies travelling, reading and surfing the web.
  2. Revival – Music revitalizes in the morning and calms in the evening.
  3. Strong sensation – Music can provide deep, thrilling emotional experiences, particularly while performing.
  4. Diversion – Music distracts the mind from unpleasant thoughts, which can easily fill the silence.
  5. Discharge – Music matching deep moods can release emotions: purging and cleansing.
  6. Mental work – Music encourages daydreaming, sliding into old memories, and exploring the past.
  7. Solace – Shared emotion, shared experience, a connection to someone lost.

         What is even more compelling is how music has the ability to influence our health. A wide variety of research is available in this regard as well.  A short list of what is possible was offered in an article titled: Seven Ways Music Breaks Can Improve Your Health  by Srinivasan Pillay.  Here are the major five:

  1. Choir singing and related listening increases immunity in the body.
  2. Recreational music-making (including drumming) improves immunity.  Older adults tend to be particularly susceptible.
  3.  Music has been shown to protect against cancer, increase pain threshold and fight the effects of chemotherapy.
  4. ICU patients are likely to need less sedation and/or pain medication when exposed to positive music.  It is thought that music’s ability to reduce stress and increase dopamine production is the cause.
  5. Music can lower blood pressure.

But there’s more.  One of the most exciting possibilities in the area of music and its positive affects comes from Dr. Masaru Emoto from Japan.  While not without its controversy, Dr. Emoto’s premise is that music and words have a profound effect on water.  And because the human body is approximately 65% water, we are all very susceptible to the music we surround ourselves with at any time.  How does he demonstrate this claim?  By freezing water molecules both before and after they are subjected to individual words, music or actions and taking a photo of the results, the differences are remarkable.  Simply put, water when exposed to positive words or uplifting music, forms beautiful crystals when photographed.  When exposed to negative, violent words or harsh and violent music, dark unformed visuals are the results.  The best way to consider this is to what the short attached video.

What this work suggests is that uplifting music/words can change the chemistry of the cells in our body in a positive way.  The opposite of that would also then be true.

What if it’s all possible?  What if the music we listen to has the ability to make us feel happier, lift our moods, motivate us to action, and even change the cells in our body?  Internalizing that message would suggest that we each create a musical playlist and put it on our iPod and start listening daily.  Wondering where to get started? Here are a few musical suggestions off my own SMART list that should help encourage anyone to be inspired:

  •  What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  • Beauty in the World by Macy Gray
  •  Me by Paula Cole
  •  The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti
  • Blessed by Martina McBride
  • One Love by Bob Marley
  • Take Another Road by Jimmy Buffett
  • One Tribe by The Black Eyed Peas
  • Conviction of the Heart by Kenny Loggins
  • Money Can’t Buy It by Annie Lennox

The good news is that it doesn’t seem to matter what type of music we listen to or like–as long as the words are uplifting and positive and we feel good when we listen.  When you think about it, music is one of the most inexpensive and accessible ways to change our mood, motivate us to action, encourage us and maybe even make us healthier–and it is also easy to fit into just about anyone’s life style.  I dare you to listen to one or two of the songs I’ve suggested and not feel happier. Better yet, pick your own favorites and start dancing!


P.S. Do I really even need to mention that listening to positive music also helps to promote peace on the planet?  This post is also linked to other Bloggers 4 Peace!


Filed under Aware, Meaningful

46 Responses to Music Can Make You Happy & Healthy—Or Not!

  1. elle setar


    I strongly believe that music has that powers to to make you more happy and healthy. Music can make you more sience and will never let you go in stress. BTW great article. Thanks for sharing !

  2. Another really great resource on this subject is This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin. Such a fascinating subject!

  3. This is awesome. Keep it up. Yes music makes people happy and healthy. Also music is conveying your feelings to another in a very special way. I am playing music for the last 44 years and still enjoy playing and singing.

    • Hi Anthony! Welcome to SMART Living and thank you for sharing your thoughts on music with us all. With your experience I’m certain that you’ve seen LOTS of examples of how music can lift us up. ~Kathy

  4. Music can soothe your mind and act as stress buster, hence you can feel more lighter and happier. 🙂

  5. Hasan

    Very Sweet Post. You are Right, It doesnt take a genius to understand that music has the power to make our mood good. i love music and believe that it can have a great impact on our mood. Also Thanks for the SMART list which has my fav, What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

  6. Priscilla R. Warren

    I would be very thankful if you continue with quality what you are serving right now with your articles…I really enjoyed it…and i really appreciate to you for this….its always pleasure to read so….Thanks for sharing!!

  7. cavs

    ths a lovely post. somthing I would read and reread again. Music heals th ache in our soulls. You dont have to understand the language to enjoy the song. Thank you for the post.

  8. Matt

    Frank Zappa said it best “Without music to decorate, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.”

  9. Wonderful article! Music always elevates my state of being when I’m not feeling 100%. Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work is based on universal principles of energy. He shows how water is effected as an example instead of humans. When a positive song emits from the speakers the results on the water are always positive. The same applies to you. When you hear a loving or joyful song you are instantly elevated into a higher vibration. Music is e-motion. Energy in motion. We are energetic beings and music is also a form of energy. Thanks for sharing!
    Jalai Lama recently posted…11 Beautiful Mooji Quotes to Soak InMy Profile

  10. brilliant 🙂 music is a excellent way to raise your mood instantly and is something i have done for years, however i also believe music can really lower your mood as well ovcourse all depending on what music you are listening two.

  11. Hello I have to Say Music is My life!!! My grandFather was a Blues Musician so I grew up around music all my life! I used to be bias and only listen to Hip-hop as a teenager, but as I grew older I learned to appreciate all Genre’s of music because no matter which style you listen to , Rap, Rock, Trap Music, Pop, R&B….ETC all of it touches the soul!!! I don’t think there is a person on earth who would be able to function with out some sort of Music! Great Article by the way! Thanks for sharing this with us!!

    • Hi Baka’z Mann! Thank you for stopping by SMART Living and sharing your thoughts on music. Yes, can you imagine trying to live without music? That would be the same as living with our art! And yes, I think all grow in our music appreciate as we go through life. Keep making music that makes you happy! ~Kathy

  12. I stopped by the site because I saw the video about the effects on intention and emotion on water crystals. I’m a blues musician and also follow a spiritual path. I read that heavy metal music kills plants, and it struck me that this is probably due to the effect on the water inside the plant cells.

    Classical music nurtures growth, for example. After exploring the ideas about water experiments, I made a point of being very careful about my intentons and speech to other human beings – we are 70% water (like the planet) and we can do great harm with our negative attitude towards others. Thanks for a thoughtful blog.
    Jim Bruce recently posted…Acoustic Blues Guitar – Livin’ With The Blues – Brownie McGhee CoverMy Profile

    • Hi Jim! Welcome to SMART Living. And YES! Isn’t that information about how music affects the water in our cells just amazing? It makes so much sense on a metaphysical level that we are affected that way–but like with so much we forget how we are all tied together by vibration. That vibration happens with water, or like you say, the very words you speak. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. ~Kathy

  13. haha tanq kathy….. :). You are absolutely true dear. Parents can’t be convinced easily…. :P. But as of now i am done wid my studies no issues ….. 😛 I am njoying music …. 🙂
    Surya Tejaswini recently posted…10 Tips to Reduce WeightMy Profile

  14. I love listening to music almost all the time. Even while doing some work i prefer listening to music. Even during my exams too they will offer me a great pleasure. So that i never get bored to learn my subjects.But my parents keep telling me not to listen to it that much. But now after reading this cool stuff i will tell them how useful it is to listen to music. Thank you kathy for such an awesome stuff…… :). Thumps up for this post. Let us go crazy with music kathy… 🙂
    Surya Tejaswini recently posted…10 Tips to Reduce WeightMy Profile

    • Hi Surya! Thanks for stopping by SMART Living and sharing your thoughts. I’m not sure your parents will be entirely convinced that music will help you study but it is definitely worth a try. 🙂 I so agree that when something brings you pleasure and makes you happy (like your say your music does) then it will help you stay awake and engaged–and that is a very good thing. I am currently loving the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams–and yes it certainly makes me crazy happy when I hear it! Thanks again for stopping by and leaving a comment. ~Kathy

  15. laura

    i am 100% satisfied with you that music can make us happy and healthy as well great information thanks for share with us
    laura recently posted…Positive Thinking – Stopping Anxious ThoughtsMy Profile

  16. The music has is the power which is in us. You need music to comunicate with yourself ! Salvatore
    Di Stefano recently posted…Page web de Marcello PAROLINI (sur le site de la SIMC)My Profile

    • Welcome Salvatore! Because you are a composer your KNOW how important music is and how wonderful it is to us all. As you say, it is a great way for us to communicate with ourselves. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! ~Kathy

  17. Soulseeker

    Thank you for this lovely article.
    I love music, grew up in a family of musicians and learned to appreciate all kinds of different music.
    I’m growing more and more aware of the impact it has on my emotional health and especially after the release of Dr. Emoru’s work on the effects of music on water..
    Thank you..
    Love & Light

    • Hi Soulseeker! Thank you so much for coming by SMART Living and leaving a comment. As a soulseeker I’m not at all surprised that you find music nourishing for your soul and emotional health. I think it is something that we all intuitively know, but don’t always consciously allow to help us create a more peaceful and happy life. Thanks again for coming by and I look forward to checking out your blog too….~Kathy

  18. Thanks Kathy for an enjoyable and enlightening read 🙂

    As a guitar teach and performer, I see the power that music has on both young and old alike nearly every day. It has been my life and will continue to be so long into my golden and platinum years!!

    It’s also quite interesting to see the health benefits of loving music either as a musician or active listener. In fact, I believe that any artistic endeavor can be healthy nutrition for the soul.

    Thanks again and as I just discovered your blog, I’m off to read more 🙂

    Take care and all the best.

    Lyle recently posted…What A One Gig MP3 Player Taught Me About Living!My Profile

    • Hi Lyle! So glad that you stopped by and enjoyed the blog post. As a musician yourself I’m not at all surprised that you have a deep appreciation for all that music can do for a person. And yes, I agree that any artistic endeavor is good for our soul…but I happen to be preferential about anything that contains words so either loving songs or writings are always high on my list. Please check back when you can and I look forward to checking out your blog as well. ~Kathy

  19. I was a voice major in college and loved singing until my vocal cords were damaged during thyroid surgery. At first I couldn’t even listen to music but like an old flame, I missed it so much that I turned the sadness into joy. One of my current favorite songs is HO Hey by The Lumineers. I just around and dance every time I hear the song….my favorite verse is
    I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweet heart
    I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweet heart
    Of course the rest of the song is a love song that if it weren’t for the upbeat
    music would be sad. I don’t need science to tell me that music can cure all ills, I know it does!
    Christine Somers recently posted…Labor Day Weekend: The Beginning Or The End?My Profile

    • Hey Christine….bummer about your vocal cords 🙁 ….I’m sure that makes music rather bitter sweet for you…but nothing like a song like HO Hey to lighten your heart and get you up and moving around. I too love the tempo of that song and right now I have Pandora playing in the background. Much as I love my computer and sitting around writing about things I enjoy–I REALLY need to get up and move as much as possible. I obviously needed to write and remember how important music is for me–and I’m glad it helped others remember it’s importance too. ~Kathy

  20. Thanks so much for this thoughtful and informative post. You’ve just reminded me that I LOVE music, it has a BIG effect on my mood…and I don’t listen to it NEARLY ENOUGH! Thanks for all the suggestions as well. #1 is my all-time fave.
    Sheryl recently posted…Here’s To FriendsMy Profile

    • Hi Sheryl…yes, isn’t it funny that we can forget some of the most obvious things that make us happy and enrich our lives? I think we get busy, then distracted, and by that time we’ve forgotten to slow down a second, take a deep breath, cuddle with a loved on (or pet) and turn on the music! As usual I wrote this to remind myself–and I’m glad others are happily reminded too! ~Kathy

  21. Love Dr. Emoto’s work. I also love how you give scientific research to support what we always knew–music heals. Love your song list as well, Kathy. One Love is one of my all time favorites. Thank you for this beautiful post for peace. {{{hugs}} Kozo
    Kozo Hattori recently posted…A Peaceful Path through MusicMy Profile

    • Hi Kozo! Thank you for commenting….Did I link this the correct way with all your other great posts about peace and music? I love what you are doing to create more peace on the planet AND on the internet and know I want to be a part of it! I’m hoping all my readers follow this through to your blog and the other bloggers for peace. ~Kathy

  22. It’s nice to have my own experiences validated by research Kathy. Not that it would make any difference really, I know how I feel when I play certain music, which is why our house almost always has music in the background.

    Funnily enough I was heading to bed last night and a piece of music started to play and I felt such joy that I sat and listened to the whole piece before heading off to the boudoir.
    Elle recently posted…Unexpected Acts Of Creativity That Change Your LifeMy Profile

    • Hi Elle! Yes…isn’t it great when science takes and interest in validating what really makes us happy and increases the quality of our lives. Not only does it reassure us that what we know intuitively to be true, but it reminds us that it really DOES help feel that joy that we all crave. We also tend to have music playing in the background in our house but only music that uplifts and or soothes… Thanks again for stopping by… ~Kathy

  23. Another great article, Kathy! Love it. My dear friend owns a music school and we often talk about how music helps improve our lives. Not just listening to it but learning it too. I’m going to bookmark this one and read some of the links. I have the book Messages in Water and it has changed the way I see the world. I first heard about it in the film “What the Bleep Do We Know?”

    You are just a beautiful, beautiful soul. It’s so obvious that you love life and you love to learn and share. Thank you for putting yourself out there. You are a very special lady.
    Ginny Love Moore recently posted…Little Heart. Beautiful Courage.My Profile

    • Hey Ginny…I know you’re a music lover so I’ll bet you have a pile of songs that you could recommend that can uplift the soul…And why am I not surprised that you’ve read the book “Messages From Water” Pretty intriguing stuff huh? If only half of it is true then there is so much mystery and magic going on around us all the time that we can miss if we aren’t paying attention. And yes, don’t you love “What The Bleep Do You KNow?” We saw it in the theater when it first came out and then a couple of years ago saw it again when we rented a houseboat vacation home in Amsterdam…it just got better with a few years in between viewing. Definitely the sort of thing I should/could watch every now and then to be reminded… Dang! We have a LOT to talk about when we get together for sure! ~Kathy

  24. I was very interested to read about evidence-based research on this topic. Thank you for digging around and presenting these findings. Very interesting!
    Karen D. Austin recently posted…Weird Things on My SkinMy Profile

    • Hi Karen….thanks for stopping by SMART Living and leaving a comment. There is actually a great deal more information about the benefits of music and I feel like I barely touched on it–but glad you found it helpful. Some of the findings also said that it is a “growing area of research” so that should be beneficial to us all. It reminds me of that now-classic study done by Norman Cousins about how pain in the body is reduced by watching comedies on TV or movies. Both are such natural solutions to feeling good but we so often take them for granted and go about our lives without a thought. Hope my post helps a few people (me included) remember the power of music a bit more! ~Kathy

  25. Music has always had a big impact on me. I still find myself driving with a heavy foot when listening to rock and roll and my patience on the road deteriorates in direct proportion to the volume played! And as you say I definitely have my “special songs” that when I hear I cannot suppress a smile or a tear. By the way, I like your choice of inspirational songs. My daughter is getting married in three weeks and we just agreed on the father/daughter dance song – it happens to be at the top of your list. Enjoy…
    Dave Bernard recently posted…How to Decide Whether to Relocate in RetirementMy Profile

    • Hi Dave…thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Interesting that the volume alone can make a difference when driving–and think how your blood pressure is reacting as well??? Having your own play list with “positive music” on it all playing at a good volume might do wonders 🙂 And congratulations on your daughter’s wedding. And what a wonderful way to start out by playing “What A Wonderful World!” ~Kathy

  26. I love music – especially spiritual kind but now that I know it’s good for my health and my life, time to turn up the volume:) Music should be mandatory for all people or at least consciously infused into our lives. The study by Dr. Emoru and the effects of music on water (and our bodies) is fascinating.

    Thanks for sharing this post!

    • Hi Vishnu…thanks for stopping by and sharing the love 🙂 And yes, even though I think all of us KNOW on some level how life enhancing music can be in our lives, I still need to be reminded of it myself. I also appreciate music because I love dancing and between the healing and helping of music alone…and the many benefits of movement and dance…I should be doing it ALL THE TIME!

      Oh, and if you haven’t read any of the work by Dr. Emotto–but sure and check it out. As I mentioned there is some controversy–but also something that seems to make sense that is worth exploring. When you believe everything is interconnected it’s not hard to see how music and words would have an impact. ~Kathy

  27. A soothingly, sweet post on this Thursday afternoon!

    Cathy Chester recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: The Cat In The Paper BagMy Profile

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