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7 Proven Ways Music Makes Your Life Better

7 Proven Ways Music Makes Your Life Better

Whether you favor Beethoven or Slayer, there is one thing I think we can all agree on: music makes life better. But here is the proof as science would have it, and it’s not just in the ways we think.

1. Listening To Music Reduces Stress

A lot of us intuitively turn to relaxing music when we are feeling stressed or tired. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we’re not just imagining things. Significant research backs it up. In particular, slow, quiet classical music is suggested to have the most soothing effect. So if you have a hard time dealing with stress, compiling a playlist of some fitting classical songs could be a good idea. Or try listening to a relaxing, classical-style movie soundtrack. One study actually showed this type of music had more powerful effects on reducing anxiety than anti-anxiety drugs.

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2. Listening To Music Improves Endurance

Do you work out? Have you always felt like you perform better when you listen to music? Odd as it might seem, there has actually been a lot of research done on this subject. And sure enough, one study shows that music can increase endurance by 15%. So if you’ve always felt like you lasted longer when listening to music, chances are that you’re right.

In addition, a Norwegian study shows that listening to classical music is the most beneficial when trying to increase endurance while spinning. One theory is that the continuity of a classical piece helps you focus, which in turn allows you to persevere longer. However, another study suggests that it’s not the type of music, but rather the speed of the music—the beats per minute (bpm)—that matter. According to the study, the optimal speed would be 125–140 bpm. This jog.fm page lists songs by their bpm. For optimal performance, maybe you should pick a classical piece, in case it actually does make a difference.

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3. It Can Make You Healthier

It might seem too good to be true, but some research suggests that there are measurable health benefits from simply listening to music. Ever wondered why music plus alcohol seems to breed bad decisions and odd behavior? Listening to music can also release dopamine, often dubbed “the pleasure chemical,” much like eating or having sex would. This is good news if you’re dieting! You could perhaps substitute the pleasure achieved through eating your comfort foods by indulging in your favorite music, with none of the negative health repercussions.

4. Singing With A Group Of People Makes You Happier

Ever thought people that sing in a choir look a bit…too happy? Well, as it turns out, it’s not just your imagination. Science actually explains what makes them so happy. And the best part of it is, even less-than-great singers experienced the same positive effects. What does this mean for you? Hopefully, that the next time you get the chance to have a sing-along with someone else, you take it, instead of worrying about how you will be received. It’s very likely to cheer you up! One of the studies listed also suggest that singing together increases bonding. And don’t worry, if you feel like you’re just too shy, you can stick to singing in the shower. But just make sure you do it a bit more often.

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5. Learning To Play An Instrument As A Kid Makes You More Successful Later

Research shows a noticeable correlation between learning to play an instrument as a child, and becoming successful later in life. So if you were always upset with your parents for forcing you to play the violin—or like me, the piano—take a minute to be grateful. I just thanked my father. One of my biggest regrets these days is that I never actually tried to learn to play the piano properly.

6. It Makes You Smarter

Even as an adult. So don’t fret if you didn’t get to learn an instrument as a kid. Pick one now, and master it. The research shows this can increase your IQ by up to seven points. But let’s face it: that’s far from the best part. I mean, there’s the perceived social value of knowing how to play an instrument, and of course, just the pleasure of being able to play an instrument well. That’s pretty awesome too! Needless to say, I’ve started playing the piano again.

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7. It Improves Your Memory

The interesting part about the research is that it shows music helps your brain develop in multiple areas, one of the most significant being your memory. So if you’re troubled by a bad memory, learning to play an instrument is something you should consider.

Classical music seems to be the biggest winner of the research. If you’ve been disenchanted until now, perhaps it’s the time to start exploring a few of the greats. While exactly why music has such an effect on us has yet to be completely explained, it’s hard to argue the fact that your life is better with music in it.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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