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What Are You Listening To?

The science behind the music

I have a close friend who recently complained to me about constantly feeling angry and aggressive. He explained that though he had nothing to be vexed about, he still could not help his emotions drifting towards anger. As the conversation switched topics, he casually began to play for me some new songs he liked. While the lyrics flowed, I immediately noticed the angry and aggressive tone and messages in the songs that he routinely played.

That is the power of music.

Music is such an integral part of the human experience that it is found in every culture, social class, gender, race, etc. Whether used to praise, express joy, teach, celebrate, relax or express love, music has always been a tool to convey human emotion. Scientists have determined that listening to music is the only activity that simulates all parts of the brain (right, left, front, back) simultaneously. However, the effect of music on mood and behavior is not a secret.

Music starts as sound vibration until the brain transforms it. The limbic system found within the brain are connected structures that produce emotion. These regions receive auditory (sensory) information and processes it to elicit emotions that influence the decisions we make about our lives. Examine music in your own life. Your current playlist has the power to influence you to either snuggle with a loved one or engage in road rage. Realities like this prove that music moves you, even if you refuse to dance.

Some might ask, “What difference does it make what we hear or listen to?”, without realizing that every sensory input that we receive affects us - either positively or negatively. We all have to understand that the music we listen to not only affects our emotions but also influences our behavior. The creation of music was intended by God to be a powerful and positive tool. The simple instruction is to sing “to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16). So, what are you singing and listening to? Who is speaking into your ears, and what are they saying? What kind of emotional response do you receive from the music you listen to?

Psalm 13:6 – ‘I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me.’

Psalm 104:33 – ‘I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!’

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