Hilary Clark on December 9th
How picking up an instrument could be good for your health
"All the things I really like to do are either illegal, immoral, or fattening.”
All too often I hear about the newest diet tips, the right books to read, or the newest exercise programs that promise to make us healthy. You know what these things have in common? I hate doing them. I can last about a day on a diet, reading nonfiction feels like punishment, and the only time you’ll ever see me run is if I’m being chased.
Why does it seem like to be healthy you have to take away some of the greatest things in life?
Luckily, there is one way to improve your health that doesn’t starve you, bore you, or force you to exercise!
It’s actually really easy to do… and I wish I would have learned about all of this long time ago. I’m talking about learning how to play music. Learning to play an instrument can have so many health benefits. The health benefits aren’t just physical either. The best part? Anyone can do it and stick to it! There are a few things you may be wondering. You may be asking, “Well, why isn’t everyone doing it?” and “What kind of health benefits could learning to play an instrument possibly have?”. Well, the first question, I really have no idea. Everyone should be doing it. The second though…the second is easy. I’ll keep it short, and list just a few of the great things that learning an instrument can do for your health...
10 Ways That Learning To Play An Instrument Is Good For You
1. It's A Huge Stress Reliever
2. It Makes You Happy
3. It Teaches You Perserverance
4. It Helps You Interact With Others
5. It Keeps Your Mind Active
8. It Can Keep You From Making Bad Decisions
7. It Can Fight Aging
10. No Regrets
9. It Can Open Doors For You
6. It Allows You To Express Yourself
We all know that just listening to music can help us relax, so can you imagine how relaxing it would be to create it? There are many studies that suggest playing the music ourselves significantly reduces our stress. Stress can do awful things like cause obesity, heart failure, diabetes, and more. Why not at least give it a try?
Not only can you get rid of negative feelings by playing an instrument, you can bring in a lot of positive feelings. Who doesn’t want to be happier? Happy people are healthy people. Just listening makes us happier. Learning to play what you hear is even better.
“A brain imaging study that came out last year proved what many scientists long suspected: Listening to music can lead the brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is the brain’s universal signal for pleasure, an internal system that tells the brain (sometimes rightly, sometime wrongly) that it is doing the right thing…Listening to music taps into the dopamine system in part because hearing something new is a signal that the brain is learning something, and we have evolved to enjoy acquiring new information.” -Gary Marcus
Sure, starting out playing an instrument can seem challenging. With the right teacher and some practice, you can learn a lot very quickly. You have to stick with it though, and when you do, you are rewarded with the ability to make music. That is something that nobody can ever take away from you. Perseverance can help you achieve many goals you have in life, whether they have to do with health or not.
Social ties are good for your health. Sometimes we feel like we need to belong. Playing an instrument makes you part of a group of people that do something great. People that play music share something special. Often people that learn to play make new friends, and if those new friends play music with you, you learn to be a part of a team.
When it comes to music, there is always so much to learn. As you are learning new things, you are keeping your mind busy. Keeping your mind sharp can improve your memory, and studies suggest playing an instrument can prevent dementia.
If you know how to play, you can create music. You can discover talents that you never knew you had. Self-discovery is an amazing thing.
Yes, that’s right. I touched on this a bit earlier, but playing an instrument can keep your brain functioning better, hearing is positively affected by making music, and when you relieve stress you are putting a stop to a big contributor to wrinkles.
If you’re sitting at home watching television, it is really easy to want to eat junk food while you’re doing it. People like to multi-task, and are bored easily. If you played an instrument, you’d be less likely to do that. For example, if I were to practice playing a guitar while watching television, my hands would be busy and I’d be less likely to eat. Playing music fights off boredom. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m bored, I do some pretty dumb things.
If you understand music and have a passion for it, you can have a whole new set of career opportunities. You could be in a successful band, be behind the production of the music, and even teach others to play. Studies have shown that people who are happy in their careers or have more money are much healthier. They can afford better healthcare, live in safer neighborhoods, and eat healthier foods.
How could you not feel great doing something really cool? Knowing you are doing something great can have such a positive impact on your life. I believe a big secret to being the best person you can be is doing something that makes you feel good, but knowing in your heart that you are doing something right. You won’t look back on it later and say “Oh I shouldn’t have ever learned to play that instrument”. I mean, eating chocolate cake makes me feel great, but I often say “Oh man I shouldn’t have eaten so much chocolate cake.” Regrets aren’t good for you.
So if you don’t play an instrument, now you have to ask yourself…
”What is keeping me from being the best person I can be?”
What is it that is holding you back? It has been said that the greatest rewards come from taking the biggest risks, but nothing bad could come from at least trying to learn to play. Do something great for yourself, and give yourself the gift of music and good health. It’s never too late. Learning an instrument will be one of the most rewarding things that you will ever do.