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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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Ragnar Miljeteig

Ragnar is a passionate writer who blogs about personal development at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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