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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
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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.

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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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Maggie Heath

Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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