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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 January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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