Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

Brain Awareness Week: How music can support our brain health

The 11th-17th March is Brain Awareness Week, a global campaign to raise awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.

As a music and dementia charity, we encourage people to be mindful of their own brain health, how to improve mental wellbeing and stimulate the brain through personally meaningful music.

Being mindful and taking care of your brain health can help to reduce the risk of developing dementia. Thankfully, taking care of our brain can be easily incorporated into our weekly routine and music can give us a helping hand in doing this. Here are four ways you can use to music to look after your brain health.

Listen to activate and engage your brain

In 2021, researchers at the University of Toronto found that listening to personally meaningful music can help boost the brain function in patients with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease.

Music alone is a great way to keep our brain stimulated and music that is personally meaningful can activate many parts of the brain at once: lighting up the brain like a fire display.

Music that is personally meaningful to us is particularly powerful as it can spark memories and emotions within us which help us connect and reminisce. 

Listen to keep socially active and make new connections

Socialising and trying new things create new connections in the brain. This can help reduce your risk of developing dementia and it can also help you live as well as possible with the condition if you do develop it. 

If you feel anxious when going out, take your playlist with you, on an MP3 player. Listening to this can reduce anxiety, make you feel more at ease and elevate your mood.

Music is universal, so finding groups or organisations in your local community that run dementia-friendly sessions is a great way to meet with others to discuss shared experiences, have musical conversations, and enjoy memories from your past.

Use our conversation starter to build social connections and discuss the music and memories that matter most to you.

Listen while you exercise

Establishing and taking part in a regular exercise routine is a great way to keep our brain healthy. Not only can regular exercise reduce our risk of developing dementia, it helps our brain produce endorphins which can boost our mood and productivity. 

Getting started with exercise can be overwhelming but again a personal playlist can be a great source of encouragement. Why not try listening to your playlist while going for a brisk walk or jog?

Brush up on ‘music detective’ skills

Learning how to source songs for someone’s personal playlist equips us to support people living with dementia now and in the future. 

It’s also a fun way to discover songs you may not have hear before and hear what memories other’s have. 

People of all ages can be a music detective. Check out our resources for young music detectives here.

Protect your brain health

Engaging with music is just one way to keep your brain healthy and reduce risks of diseases that can lead to dementia.  Visit Brain Health Scotland for more lots advice and guidance on good brain health.