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5 Music Hacks That’ll Improve Every Aspect Of Your Life

5 Music Hacks That’ll Improve Every Aspect Of Your Life

Music is often called a universal language. It’s something that almost every culture shares, and for that reason, most people enjoy playing or listening to music. And while you might think music is good for concerts and background noise alone, it’s actually beneficial for so many more reasons. Here are some of our favorite music hacks, guaranteed to make your life easier and happier. Consider putting some tunes on before reading this article. Who knows? You might discover some hacks of your own along the way.

1. Music makes you smarter.

This is a pretty old concept, and while it’s been tested and retested many times over the years, some of it really is true. Playing music or having some kind of music education has been proven to improve math scores in younger students. For you songbirds out there, singing does fall into the category of “playing music,” so you’re just as likely to benefit as cellists and saxophonists. Other studies have looked into how music affects performance in other areas, such as verbal and science skills, as well as if musicians are overall “smarter” people. This is more of a gray area, and many people disagree on the validity of these claims.

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2. Music can help you have a better workout.

Not only does music help motivate exercisers, but it’s been shown to help people take on more intense workouts. According to some, the ideal BPM (beats per minute) is around 130, give or take a few beats. People who listen to music while exercising are shown to work harder and for longer. Next time you decide to lace up your running shoes, try to listen to a playlist that gets you pumped up. You’ll have a better, happier workout because of it.

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3. Music can reduce stress.

If you’re feeling overworked, anxious, or tense, listening to music might be a good way to calm down and relax. There has been a substantial amount of research done on the soothing powers of music. It shows that not only does music distract us from our problems, but it can also help us get in touch with emotions that might be harder to explore without music. Sometimes, these benefits can be seen through changes in blood pressure and heart rate, especially when listening to calming music.

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4. Music makes people happy.

There’s nothing as basic as happiness. Music has been shown time and time again to increase humans’ happiness, both when listening to it and playing it. According to this study, the brain releases dopamine when music is heard. This is the same chemical that is released when we eat food and have sex. It’s an addiction chemical, meaning we always want more of it. This is part of the reason that music makes us so happy so often. What’s really interesting is that this happiness that comes from music is very global, meaning there is virtually no one who doesn’t share your same love of music — even if the genres are different.

5. Music helps you sleep.

Listening to music may help you go to sleep and stay asleep. According to the BBC, listening to music before going to bed may help you go to sleep. Calming music, particularly instrumental music, may help you get in a bedtime frame of mind. This same study as reported by the BBC states that people who listened to calming, slower music before going to bed were also able to stay asleep more soundly. Additionally, they were able to perform better throughout the following day. We all know how important a good night’s sleep is, so consider listening to some soothing classical or jazz music before hitting the sheets tonight. You might be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Featured photo credit: Chris JL via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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