In this time of great reconnection, I believe unity is more important than ever. Unity is the greatest reflection of our humanity. Psychologically, our social relationships, our human connections, and our roles within our communities are great enablers of overall happiness. I also believe that music is a universal language that can unite people across cultures and bond strangers with a dance. That is why we are celebrating the reintroduction of our seasonal summer flavor, Unity, this month by honoring the sounds and rhythms that connect us.
Be it physical, mental, or spiritual wellness, I’m always in search of bettering my health. This month, I wanted to share some of the health benefits that I have discovered when we bring a sense of unity into our everyday lives.
Boosted Brain Health
We talk a lot about the gut-brain connection, but the brain-music connection is another powerful relationship. Few things can stimulate the brain the same way music does. Whether listened to alone or with friends and loved ones, music has been shown to increase dopaminei. Beyond mood, research suggests music therapy has significant medical benefits: lower levels of anxiety, a decrease in cognitive decline and trauma healingii. When we listen to music, we open our minds and hearts to greater health and happiness.
Positive Feedback Loop
Being validated and valued feels good – no matter who you are. The more positive social interactions you have, the more you increase your overall well-being which inspires more positive interactions and so on. Dr. Emma Sepla, author of “The Happiness Track,” explains that “greater social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.”iii
The chemical response in our brains that comes from familial and romantic bonds is also replicated in friendships. Research shows that 6-7 hours per day of socializing leads to the highest levels of happiness.iv Fostering relationships that are positive, calm, and happy make us feel positive, calm, and happy.
Decreased Anxiety and Depression
We are better together. As naturally social beings, feeling connected to others is essential for keeping levels of anxiety and depression low. In fact, people who have a sense of support may experience mental health benefits as the impact of stress is reduced through a sense of meaning and a purpose in life. v
Improved Immune Systems
Strong relationships lead to a 50% increased chance of longevity.vi Decrease your risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and support your immune system with connection. Even casual interactions have been shown to have positive effects on whole health.
When you act with kindness and empathy to those around you, you are adding that grace back into your life. Surrounding yourself with positive relationships encourages you to avoid speaking negatively about yourself.
Let these benefits serve as a reminder to foster a positive sense of unity in your world. Reach out to an old friend, celebrate those in your life and listen closely to the music that connects us all.
1 McGilchrist, Sonya Z (2011). Music 'releases mood-enhancing chemical in the brain'
2Levitin, Daniel. (2013). Major health benefits of music uncovered.
3Seppla, Emma. (2014). Connectedness & Health: The Science of Social Connection.
4Cassity, Jessica. Happiness by the Numbers: 8 Stats That Could Change Your Life
5 Umberson, Debra and Montez, Jennifer Karas. Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy
6 Seppla, Emma. (2014). Connectedness & Health: The Science of Social Connection.