Plato once said, “music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
Music adds a soundtrack to our most significant life events. Whether it’s melancholy music after a painful breakup or a romantic song from our wedding day, music is often there for life’s most memorable moments.
But aside from memories, did you also know that music influences our mental performance and ability to get things done? Here are some ways that music can be used to your advantage and boost your productivity.
Music improves your mood
When you’re listening to music that you like, the brain releases dopamine, makes you feel good, and subsequently reduces stress and anxiety.
An example that best illustrates this was from the journal of Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Researchers examined the effects of music on patients about to go into surgery.
Patients were given the option to either take anti-anxiety medication or listen to music, which was followed by the researchers tracking the changes in levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the music-listening cohort of patients experienced less anxiety and lower cortisol levels than patients who took anti-anxiety medication.
Thus illustrating: music has the power to improve our mood and reduce stress.
Music improves physical performance
Did you know the soundtrack whilst you’re at the gym exercising can reduce boredom and actually improve the quality of your workout?
A study from sports psychologist Costas Karageorghis found that music improves physical performance by increasing ability to exercise longer and harder, and thereby delaying fatigue.
So the next time you’re looking to gain a performance boost, pay careful attention to the music you queue up for that occasion.
Music makes repetitive tasks more palatable
According to Daniel Levitin, neuroscientist and the author of This Is Your Brain on Music, music can make repetitive tasks more pleasurable and increase your concentration on the task at hand.
Familiar music helps with focus
Many studies have discovered that certain regions of our brain—which conjure strong emotions and enhance our ability to concentrate—are more activated when we are listening to music that is familiar to us rather than when we’re listening to unfamiliar music.
Focus is more likely to slip when listening to unfamiliar music and adjusting to the new sound(s).
Listening to music between tasks could boost productivity
Although listening to music while working could actually hinder performance for some, listening to music in between tasks can actually boost your mental performance.
A study published in the Psychology of Music found that music in between tasks could boost student academic performance and their ability to concentrate on a task for long periods of time.
Maybe listening to music while working doesn’t suit your style. But, if you aim to get the best of both worlds, you could keep working in silence and step away occasionally to listen to music to boost your productivity.
What type of music do you listen to help you be your most productive self? Shoot us some suggestions in the comments!