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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 July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

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Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

More Tips on Eating Healthy

Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

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