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10 Reasons for You to Listen to Music Even When It’s Not in a Language You Understand

10 Reasons for You to Listen to Music Even When It’s Not in a Language You Understand

Aldous Huxley once wrote “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Music is and has always been a great source of inspiration and entertainment for many. And even more so when accompanied by brilliant lyrics that gives the song its soul.

But here’s a fun insight. A vast majority of the music that we come across in our life has lyrics in languages we do not speak, hence rendering “the soul of music” incomprehensible, inaccessible. But should this stop us from listening to them anyway? Common sense dictates, yes. But I’m here to prove otherwise.

1. You can learn a new language with ease.

As strange as it may sound, music can be a great tool to learn a language. If you’re learning a new language or at least planning to learn a new language, you should definitely be listening to songs written in it.

There have been lots of research on the role of passive listening in learning a new language. And listening to music can be described more accurately as passive listening on steroids.

You may have experienced this before. You listen to some catchy tune and you later find yourself involuntarily trying to sing it yourself. What we are talking about is trying the same thing with foreign songs.

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2. You can always feel the music.

To brute logic, music may be an organization of rhythm and melody accompanied by lyrics that serve as the prime content of the song. However, as an art form, music is much more than just an organization.

The prime asset of any song is the accompanying emotion. How does it make you feel? And one thing about emotion is that it that there are no cultural barriers, such as different languages, that define it.

Any piece of music in the world, sung in any language, will have an accompanying emotion that its listener can almost immediately comprehend. So the language of a foreign song shouldn’t matter at all as long as it makes you feel the way you wish to feel, which is true of all music.

3. You can just move to it.

One of the prime purposes of music throughout history has been as a means for dancing. Every culture has its own form of dances and with them, songs that accompany these dances. Like emotions, rhythm is something that has no cultural barriers, and anyone who loves to “move” can move to a movable piece of music regardless of the language.

How many times have you come across an upbeat song like Hot Chip’s latest release with no knowledge whatsoever of what the singer or singers are singing about, and you just felt like dancing along? I know I have. This is true for upbeat songs of almost every language.

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4. It opens your gateways to the musical styles of the world.

This is particularly important if you’re a creative musician. But it may be just as important for someone simply passionate about music. Every culture in the world has its own unique path of evolution. And with it, its own cultural values, norms and a unique style and flavor of art.

This is just as true for music as it is for any other art form. If you are open to listening to foreign songs, you have opened yourself a gateway to a new dimension of music to draw influences from. Most creative musician draw all their influences from songs originating in one culture. Imagine if they had the entire world to draw influence from.

5. Music is in the same genre, different culture.

Even if you wish to stick to the genre of your culture, there is music of the same genre that is sung in many languages. Rock music, heavy metal, hip hop—whatever you happen to like, it is practiced throughout the world. And each language adds its own unique flavor to the genre.

There could very well be a musician in Mongolia who influences you more than someone in your own country. The point is, if you are open to listening to songs in foreign languages, you do not restrict your influences. There could be a piece of music waiting to inspire you out there. Don’t let one barrier separate you from it.

6. You can translate the lyrics after all.

You are living in the 21st century for god’s sake! You have access to tools that can actually help you decipher the meaning behind the words of that foreign song you’ve so much grown into. Most of these tools are free and incredibly accurate.

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Translating the words will for starters help you understand the content of the song, so that the next time you feel like singing it out loud, you actually know what you sing of. Then there is the unique insight the translated words provide on the culture associated with the song.

7. You can connect with native speakers.

Every traveler dreams of being treated by the locals as one of their own. Every traveler also knows how hard it is. Hence, most of us end up travelling to new places but simply miss out on living that new place. Well, once again the answer is music.

Imagine yourself in a room with a foreigner. A tense environment. Suddenly, he starts singing a folk song of your culture. How happy would that make you? Every culture has a set of songs it holds very dearly and if you can sing along with the locals, they will undoubtedly treat you as their own.

8. You avoid the tragedy associated with great music, horrible lyrics.

How many times have you come across a great piece of music only to end up being disappointed with the shallow lyrics? How many times have you appreciated the singer’s singing but just loathed the weak lyric he/she sings?

Well, here’s some great news in the context of this article: this isn’t going to be a problem with foreign songs. If you like the music, you just like it, regardless of how the lyrics go. And having avoided this tragedy, you are free to draw a subjective influence from the music. The greatest artists will tell you: subjective influences are the best!

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9. You will be perceived as cultured.

The modern world is incredibly lacking in people who are cultured. And to be perceived as one can be a great asset to hold. If you genuinely enjoy foreign songs, then you are, to the average eye, more cultured than the rest.

Be it cooking dinner while listening to Italian Opera, or working out with Rammstein playing in your work out headphone, if you enjoy doing these things, then you already hold an appreciation for the foreign cultures that they originated from; this is something that is very uncommon among average people and hence “unique.” Cultivating this habit can be as beneficial to your career as it is to your personal life.

10. You break barriers between cultures.

Time and again, history has proved that art can be a great means to connect the world. This has been especially true in the modern world where technology has made art forms from every corner of the world accessible. And it is no different with music, the queen of the art forms.

You know this when you see people who don’t speak Korean enjoy k-pop, people who don’t speak Hindi dance to Bollywood songs, or people who don’t speak English produce music in genres that originated in English speaking nations. Basically, we are all becoming a part of one huge mega-culture.

Featured photo credit: Wikimedia via upload.wikimedia.org

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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