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Top 5 Benefits of Listening to Positive Music

Top 5 Benefits of Listening to Positive Music

Can you imagine living a day without music? I can’t, and I’m not alone. Americans listen to 4 hours of music every day. There’s no other activity that we do that takes up as much of our time as listening to music, besides work and sleep that is. Despite music taking up such a significant part of our lives, we rarely stop to think about the quality of the music. We care deeply about the other things we consume like food and TV. You likely avoid specific restaurants for being unhealthy, and change the channel as soon as certain TV shows come on. Yet, we rarely stop to think about the positive and negative influence of the music we listen to.

“Music can change the world because it can change people” – Bono.

Research confirms this.

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1. Boost your beliefs and ideas

Some of the most damning evidence that music can be bad for you is that music is a popular method for torturing prisoners. This was devised back in the 1950s and is still widely used today. You may be envisioning the sounds of keyboard mashing and car alarms, but in actuality, the top 11 most popular songs used by the CIA  to torture prisoners are songs by mainstream artists. Two of these songs include Eminem’s ”The Real Slim Shady” and “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera. Without digging too deep into how psychological warfare works, the essence is the focus on sexually illicit lyrics and culturally offensive topics. “If you play it (music) for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken,” Sergeant Mark Hadsell, of Psy Ops, was quoted by the BBC news.

Consider the types of music you hear on the radio and watch on YouTube, and how frequently they’re played. Most likely, over and over again throughout the day. Does your own playlist complement your ideals and beliefs or do you just listen to whatever is on? Take a second to think about it before you press play, and reconsider putting your well being into the hands of someone’s playlist or radio host. Positive music is just a click away.

2. The power of lyrics

“Music is processed across all of the brain, it remains in our long-term memory,” – Clement-Cortes.

Music is memorable. It’s designed to be that way through the use of repetition, rhyme and patterns. That’s the magic formula to how we memorize song lyrics. Chances are you still remember lyrics from your favorite songs from high school and a television ad that used a jingle. Have you ever stopped to really analyze the lyrics? You’d be surprised at what’s being stored in your musical muscle memory. “F*&k love, give me diamonds” is sung repeatedly in the chorus of a famous Iggy Azalea song. “You might as well open your legs up and let a *expletive* poke” are lyrics by Lil Wayne. Despite being a fan of both artists, those lines aren’t something I’d repeat in front of my grandma and are the last things I want stored in my brain. So knowing that you’re going to likely remember the next song you listen to, does that change your perception of the music you listen to? There’s enough bad news going on in the world to fill your brain with any more violent, grotesque or sexist thoughts. Instead, let music be your cheerleader by picking songs with positive lyrics. What are some of your favorite songs with positive lyrics?

3. Recalling memories with music

Hello Adele, I love your music but no matter how happy I am, your songs take me into a dark place over some memory from long ago I’d prefer to forget. Even Adele is noted as saying she can’t listen to her own music without crying. Chances are, your brain is filled with songs that are synonymous with a memory, like your first dance, first date and first car. But not all music memories are happy ones. “What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head. It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person’s face in your mind’s eye,” according to Petr Janata, associate professor of psychology at UC Davis’ Center for Mind and Brain. “Now we can see the association between those two things—the music and the memories.”

If the music you listen to is associated with happy memories, then it likely provides you a pick-me-up and encouragement. If instead you’re spending your time listening to music associated with negative or sad memories, you’re unnecessarily causing yourself distress. Stop the whirlwind of negative emotions by ditching your old playlist altogether in favor of creating new memories. As Disney’s Frozen says, “Let it Go”.

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4. Change how the world sees you

If every person had their own personal theme song, it would be much easier to understand them before even starting up a conversation. The power of this is most evident during presidential elections where candidates select specific songs to represent their campaigns. This music becomes synonymous with them personally and their core messaging. The same goes for UFC fighters entering the ring. Music sets the pace and expectation of their fight, whether it be with the intention to motivating themselves or intimidating their opponent. Music has the power of creating association. Beyond just the lyrics having meaning, the musical tone, flow and emotion is just as important. “If we hear things that are in major keys, then we have a propensity to associate those with positive emotion. Whereas we hear things in minor keys — we might associate that more with negative emotion,” says Dr. Amy Clement-Cortes, an assistant professor at the Music and Health Research Collaboratory at the University of Toronto. Music with a positive beat can lead your day off to a positive start, and positive lyrics can lead your mindset to making the right decisions along the way. Do you have a personal theme song? Maybe it’s time for you to find one that represents you now and where you want to lead your life story next.

5. Make unpredictability an opportunity to thrive

It can be incredibly difficult to be happy when big changes are happening around you. Especially at work and in family life. Change can be stressful, whether it’s a new project with a huge learning curve, onboarding new staff or working with people you don’t like. Music has the power of helping overcoming some of this discomfort. Science has proven that music releases dopamine in our system, which makes us happy. According to a post on Discovery News, “People love music for much the same reason they’re drawn to sex, drugs, gambling and delicious food, according to new research. When you listen to tunes that move you, the study found, your brain releases dopamine, a chemical involved in both motivation and addiction.” Great music can calm you down and encourage you to keep going.

The same is true in team settings. According to “The Mozart Effect“, studies related to people listening to Mozart’s music, listening to upbeat, positive music like that created by Mozart can induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental task. With the right attitude and a positive music playlist to cheer you on, anything is possible.

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Now that you know you’re not just listening, you’re remembering and being influenced, I challenge you to listen to positive music only for 30 days straight. Set yourself up for success by diligently choosing music that will be the soundtrack for your life and success.

Featured photo credit: Karolina Grabowska.STAFFAGE via pexels.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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