Listening to music makes us feel good, and has myriads of benefits.
One of the easiest ways to improve your life is to add more music to it. When you listen to music, your brain releases the “pleasure chemical” dopamine. This is one of the reasons why music has played such an important role in societies throughout history. It’s also why people often list music as one of the top five things that is most pleasurable to them.
Music has many benefits in addition to releasing feel-good hormones. Here are some of them:
- It reduces stress and lowers anxiety.
- It can bring us back to the present moment. That is, it makes us mindful which is one of the keys to happiness.
- It increases motivation.
- Listening to music can help reduce pain.
- Research shows that people who combine music with a healthy diet and exercise get better results in achieving wellness.
However, with our busy lives, listening to music is often something that gets pushed to the side. The good news is, there are ways we can incorporate more music into our lives.
Below you’ll find 12 easy ways to bring more music into your life.
1. Wake Up to Music.
One of the keys to becoming an early riser is to make waking up in the morning as painless as possible. And one way to achieve this is to wake up to music. Luckily, there are apps for that.
Some apps, such as the Alarm Clock Xtreme app, let you choose any music as your alarm tone. The volume slowly increases until you have no option but to get up (or wake up your entire household). If you’re not sure what song to choose for your morning alarm, here are three options:
- Grieg’s “Morning” from Peer Gynt
- “Morning Has Broken” by Cat Stevens
- “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
2. Integrate Music Into Your Morning Routine.
Evan Carmichael—founder of Evan Carmichael Communications Group–explains that turning on music is part of his morning routine. The music gives him energy which he’s going to need to fulfill his mission of making the world a better place. Carmichael has a playlist consisting of about 20 songs which he calls “The Believe Playlist” which he plays in the mornings.
In addition, as I write in my “30 Time Saving Hacks, Strategies, and Techniques” post, time yourself as you get ready in the morning by making a playlist of songs that you like and using the songs as a timer. Here are two examples:
- Give yourself one song to brush your teeth and scrape your tongue.
- Give yourself one song to make coffee and prepare breakfast.
3. Play Music During Your Commute.
For a lot of people, their daily commute is one of the biggest energy and happiness drains of their day. In fact, studies show that cutting out an hour-long commute each way gives people the happiness equivalent of making an extra $40,000 a year. It would stand to reason that making your commute more pleasant will go a long way toward making you happier.
Although you may feel that you have to be productive during your commute and get some work done, given how destructive your commute can be to your well-being, it’s probably a better strategy to do something you enjoy during that time.
A great idea is to use your commute to listen to music that you love. After all, there’s research that shows that listening to music increases happiness. Having a more positive commute will help you to be more productive, and put you in a better mood, for the rest of the day.
4. Make Routine Chores Fun With Music.
Most people hate routine household chores, such as cleaning, folding laundry, and putting away the groceries. Therefore, they tend to procrastinate on doing these things. In my post, “Stop Procrastinating By Making It Fun”, I explain that when a task bores you to tears, one way to get yourself to carry out the task is to ask yourself how you can make it more fun.
One way to make routine chores fun–or at least more fun– is to turn on some music. In fact, you can select a few songs that you love and tell yourself that you can only listen to them as you clean the kitchen. You’ll probably end up having a kitchen that’s so clean, you could eat off the floor.
5. Play Music As You Exercise.
Studies have shown that listening to music while you exercise does all of the following:
- It distracts you from the physical discomfort of exercising.
- It makes you less aware of your exertion.
- Songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute (bpm) make you work out harder.
If you don’t know the BPM of a song, look it up online. You can use the site Song BPM.
6. Play Music at Work.
Listening to music at work increases accuracy and speed. However, the kind of music that should listen to depends on the type of work that you’re doing.
- If your work involves numbers or attention to detail, listen to classical music.
- Listen to pop music if your work involves data entry.
- If your work involves solving equations, listen to ambient music.
- If you need to problem-solve at work, listen to dance music.
7. Take Music Breaks
As I explain in my post, “25 Ways to Have Fun at Work”, most people need an energy boost in the afternoon. Why not do as Microsoft does? They blast music at three o’clock when everyone’s energy is starting to slump. Some people get up and dance, and everyone claps when the song is over.
Convince your boss that this is a good way to raise morale and foster camaraderie in the office.
If you work at home, give yourself music breaks. For every 50 minutes of work, get up, turn on some music, and dance around for ten minutes. You’ll be getting a mini-workout and you’ll be giving yourself an energy and mood boost.
8. Listen to Music Before Bed.
Studies show that songs with a slow tempo can help you to fall asleep. Lyz Cooper of the British Academy of Sound Therapy explains that you should look for songs that have 60 beats per minute (BPM) or less if you want to relax. She adds that you should ideally choose songs that remind you of a happy time.
9. Use Music Strategically to Control Your Moods and Emotions.
In the book Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: 10 Proven Ways Your Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization, Alertness and More, the authors recommend that you use music strategically throughout the day to control your moods and emotions.
They suggest using a five star system to rate the songs that you listen to, based on different emotional states, such as the following:
- How relaxed does this song make me feel?
- How happy does this song make me feel’
- How energized does this song make me feel?
- How motivated and inspired does this song make me feel?
- How focused do I feel when I listen to this song?
You’ll be creating awareness of how different songs influence your feelings. Then, create a playlist for the different feelings and emotions that you want to feel. For example, a “Pumped Up Playlist”; a “Relaxation Playlist”; a “Get In the Flow Playlist”; and so on.
Match your playlists to specific daily tasks so that you can use music to function at your best throughout the day.
10. Play a Musical Instrument.
As I explain in my post, “How to Make Yourself Smarter In One-Hour-A-Day”, what’s even better than listening to music is learning to play a musical instrument. Playing an instrument does all sorts of good things to your brain, and multiple brain areas are enhanced. Plus, who doesn’t want to be able to call themselves a musician?
11. Choose Music Venues on Your Nights Out.
When you go out on the town with your friends or your significant other on the weekends, do something music-related. You can go dancing, go to a jazz club, go to a concert, or even go to the symphony. Bond with the people you care about over music.
12. Create a Music Bucket List.
Create a bucket list—or a list of life goals– just about music. You can include things such as the following:
- Build a classical music library.
- Become an expert on your favorite music genre.
- Form a band.
- Go to a Celine Dion concert.
- Learn to dance salsa.
The possibilities are endless.
Use the 12 tips above to add more music to your life. And, since my last post was on “17 Must Read Books By the Ancient Greeks”, I’m going to finish this post with a quote about music by Plato:
“Music is moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
Live your best life by adding more music to your life.
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- 10 Practical Tips for Creating a Meditation Habit That Sticks
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