Modern life is fast-paced and can often feel aggressively demanding. With the constant expectation that we should fill every day with activity, we often forget to take time out for ourselves and reset. As today (25 February) is Employee Motivation Day, it is important to recognize that something as simple as listening to music can provide us with that much needed boost to get our work finished and see us through to the end of the day.
Reduces stress and anxiety
For many, the mental and emotional effects of music are the most noticeable. It can directly increase our happiness. At Massachusetts General Hospital, attendants noticed that patients confined to bed who listened to music for thirty minutes had a lower heart rate and blood pressure than those who hadn’t listened to music.
The reason behind is that music reduces our cortisol levels. This is more commonly known as the stress hormone, and is partly responsible for feelings of tension and emotional distress, as well as lowered immune response. Therefore, the calming effects of sound gives you the perfect excuses to sit back and switch off in a world where we are always on the move.
There are various types of music that you can listen to to relax, but many find that classical and sacred music are the most effective. There slow tempo and conservation in variation creates an enveloping experience which allows you to forget the world, in a peaceful space of your own. It can also help us to identify and express our emotions. It can help us to become aware of the feelings associated with our stress and it can help us to master that stress instead of being subdued by it.
It can boost memory and restore focus
Music also has the ability to enhance our minds and bodies, helping us to improve our memory and increasing the results we get from exercise. This has been demonstrated in the well-known Mozart Effect Study, which has suggested that listening to Mozart’s compositions may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain mental tasks. The key type of music that keeps your brain engaged is ambient music, which engages your brain at a lower, subconscious level, and can be found in sacred music, waterfall sounds and whale songs.
The second element is a good example of the multiple simultaneous benefits of music. Enjoyable music increases our motivation and encourages us to exercise harder and reduces levels of boredom during repetitive tasks such as free-weight exercise or hypnotic tasks such as long-distance running. At the same time, enjoyable music increases our tolerance of pain, helping us to exercise harder and for longer. After exercise, music helps our bodies to recover by increasing the overall availability of oxygen.
By Michael Vakil Kenton, founder of Sacred Music Radio