We all know that music can calm, soothe, and uplift a person, speaking to the emotion in a language that words cannot translate. What many people aren’t aware of though, is that music has some dramatic effects on your brain functionality as well. In fact, music promotes fine motor and reasoning skills, auditory discrimination, vocabulary recall, visual analysis, and visual attention. Talk about getting inside your head!
Here are four ways that music is beefing up your brain power without you even realizing it!
Brain Booster #1: Situational Interpretation
Music can make us feel happy or sad, but it can even go so far as to color our judgment of situations and people. Music can actually determine how we interpret neutral events or characteristics. A cross-modal transfer of emotion study showed that after listening to either happy or sad pieces of music, people were more inclined to assign those emotions to faces that displayed neutral expressions. This is a brain function controlled by the nucleus accumbens, and listening to various types of music can help us bolster various emotions.
Brain Booster #2: Increased Productivity
Because the brain functions optimally when stress levels are low and good moods are high, creating a more positive environment will automatically produce better results. Music, specifically the type of music you personally enjoy, releases dopamine (the happy hormone), lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) production, and puts you into a better frame of mind, in general. A study shows that employees who were able to choose their own playlists produced higher quality and more creative results.
Brain Booster #3: Problem Solving, Creativity & Abstract Thinking
Numerous other workplace studies have shown that employees who worked to moderate music tones were on the whole more productive. They displayed greater levels of creativity and higher abstract thinking skills compared to workers who played louder music or who played no music at all around the office. Mid-range tones have proven to be the most effective at encouraging creativity by forcing the brain to process a more complex (but not too strenuous) set of stimuli. Too loud, and the brain gets distracted or overwhelmed. Too low, and there is no challenge. Ambient noise, however, hits the spot beautifully.
Brain Booster #4: Perseverance
Researchers studied individuals who worked out regularly before, during, and after their workout, and some startling results emerged: Music can actually cancel out the brain’s fatigue messages to the body, allowing us to exert ourselves more than if we were doing the same task without music. Music can even help our bodies use oxygen more efficiently, making workout sessions or other strenuous tasks easier and more effective.
Music has the power to induce happiness and creativity, energize us, and increase productivity at work. Get the most out of everything you do by adding some toe-tapping tunes to your everyday tasks.