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Science backed health benefits of music

Science backed health benefits of music

When you are down and you need a little boost of mood you put up your favorite song. This is because we all know that music is a free therapy and it helps us change our mood and feel better about everything. However, scientists decided to dig deeper into the benefits of music and see if there are any real, scientific health benefits of music. They came up with a lot of remarkable studies on the benefits of music!

1. From Ancient Times to the Latest Technologies

After humans started to walk straight and developed social skills they also began to create music. Of course, their instruments were nothing more than pieces of carved wood. This is how music started to play an important role in the history of humanity, especially because it was able to break the barriers of language – studies showed that humans around the world react the same way to music! For example, certain types of music can increase your focus, regardless your cultural background and personal beliefs. As humanity advanced, music also evolved. Nowadays, music is both an art and a technology, as musicians now spend their time in recording studio and mix different sounds in order to make music.

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Neuroscience lately focused on how music can change your brain and discovered that sound waves can increase babies’ speaking skills. But there is more, so let’s see all the science-baked health benefits of music.

2. Musicians Have a Different Brain Structure

When you want to find out how music changes your brain, you look at professional singers, who spend their days singing and recording music in their studio. And between those, they play at least one instrument. Researchers also looked at musicians and studied their brain. Studies found that a musician’s brain is a lot more symmetrical. This is because music helps develop the two hemispheres equally. At the same time, a musician’s brain is more active in areas which control coordination, motor controls and, as expected, the visual and auditory areas in the brain. A specific part of the brain, thecorpus callosum, is more developed in musicians. All these changes in the brain, allows musicians to have a better memory, which makes sense, if you think how many lyrics they can remember. Musicians can solve problems easier and are more creative than most people.

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3. Music Can Alter Your Mood

Without any study, each person knows that listening to his/her favorite song can make themself feel better. Now, scientists had proved this is a fact and showed us how is this possible. One of the biggest health benefits of music is the relief of stress. Music can relax you because it lowers the cortisol level in your blood. Cortisol is a hormone related to stress: the more cortisol you have in your blood, the more stressed you are. When you manage to lower your cortisol level, you are going to relax.

Another study showed that listening to music improves your mood. There are also studies which prove that listening to music and singing can make you feel more powerful and can increase your confidence.

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The studies also showed that any type of music has health benefits. One study showed that sad music can help you heal your broken heart. Listening to music is therapeutic, so if you feel low, listen to music!

4. Music Can Help You Increase Productivity

On the list of health benefits of music there is also the enhancement of work performance. A study made on non-professionals showed that office workers who are allowed to listen to music of their own choice are more creative and productive, compared to those who don’t listen to music.

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Featured photo credit: Albumarium via albumarium.com

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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