Music can accompany us in more ways than we can imagine. These are 6 moments in your busy schedule where incorporating the right music might help you restore happiness and inner peace in your life:
1) Wake Up To A Musical Breakfast
For those who are morning people, and can wake up easily, probably one of the best ways to wake up is to the sounds of nature. Sounds of the ocean, birds, or even smooth new age music that will allow you to wake up gradually but surely might be perfect for you. There are some great Zen alarm clocks and apps you can buy, but you can also build your own playlist on your own iPod, iPhone, etc, and set up any playback device so that it plays your selected playlist at your desired wakeup time in the morning. If you’re a heavy sleeper, you’ll specially want to let light come in through your window to help you start your morning. You might also need music with more “attitude” to wake you up. Some “edgy” classical, marching band, or your favorite popular music might just lift your spirits to get you out of bed. You should experiment to find the sound and music that works best for you, as each individual is different.
2) Exercise To The Beat!
As humans, we are notorious for being able to “feel” the beat of a song. Of course, its no wonder studies support that music affects our heartbeat and breathing rate as well. This can result in lower blood pressure, more efficient oxygen consumption and a maximized exercise session. Scientific research supports that our hearts work easier when music accompanies our exercise routine, while cyclists on stationary bicycles use less oxygen when pedaling to music as opposed to pedaling to silence. 1
When it comes to exercising, your favorite upbeat music will help you increase your production of pleasure-giving endorphins that can help you prolong your routine and make a more productive workout session. During warm up, you’ll specially want to look for music that is at least 120 beats per minute. You’ll want to work your way up to more up tempo beats, leaving some more relaxed and mid tempo songs for the cool down phase. Your iPod can help you establish a playlist that works best for you. Rhythms that are easy for you to follow might be the best during this activity.
3) To and From Work With Musical Style
Noise from traffic and the outside world can affect our health and wellbeing significantly, which is why it becomes important to have the right music accompany us on our way to work. I’ve never been fond of radio as it is filled with commercials around this time and this can be extremely disruptive. A way to counteract these negative effects would be to listen to Pandora, Jango or any other Internet radio station of your choosing, or create a smooth ipod playlist of music you like so that you can relax on your way to work and going back. If you’re regularly taking trains to work by yourself, perhaps you can accompany your journey with some of your favorite easy listening music, or some nice relaxation music to accompany your reading.
4) At The Musical Office
While some people work more efficiently with the perfect soundtrack: silence, most people report more productivity at work while listening to the right music. 2. Offices tend to be disruptive places sound-wise. Noise coming from the streets, fluorescent lights, office cleaning, printers and computers, etc, can disrupt your work. This is probably why employees report music helping them to focus, increase productivity, improve their moods and stimulating creativity. 3. Of course, you might want to keep your soundtrack to yourself and regularly use headphones or earphones. As a former drummer and having been exposed to serious volumes of music, I’d encourage you to consider 2 things when using these. First, headphones are better for your ears than earphones as they go outside of your ears and not inside of your ear canal, minimizing loud volume exposure. Second, I’d encourage you to always keep volume at bay. Very much the way regularly eating junk food delivers inflammation to your body, exposing your ears to loud music for prolonged periods of time renders an inflammation of your auditory system that will surely deteriorate your hearing over time, so if you’d like to stop this process on its tracks, always use moderate volumes to listen to music. The office might be an appropriate environment to try classical, or your favorite mid tempo music.
5) An Evening With Your Musical Muse
On your free time at home, you might want to improve your home environment by adding some nice background music. Chillout or lounge music for this purpose does wonders in stimulating conversations, and sharing your everyday activities with your friends and loved ones. As a plus, you might want to consider learning an instrument. There’s so many wonderful things that happen in your brain that will not only help you stop alzheimer’s and other brain neurodegenerative diseases on its tracks, but also will likely help you disconnect from work and the stress in your life, while reconnecting you with your inner self.
6) Time to Sleep!
Soothing atmospheres and relaxing new age music can deliver a powerful aid to those who have trouble entering sleep. If you accompany your sleeping music with regular meditation, you’ll soon start seeing positive results in the way you sleep and wake up the next morning. I recommend you build your own playlist with relaxing tracks that have little or no percussion, and that are meant for yoga, meditation, spa, massage, etc. You can easily program your smartphone or music player to shut down after 20 or so minutes.
Music is involved in both intellectual and emotional areas of the brain and can become a very powerful ally in your life. Why not start using it as a regular part of your everyday healthy diet?
1. Gretchen Reynolds, “Phys Ed: Does Music Make You Exercise Harder?” New York Times, August 25, 2010.
2. Rose, “Employees Plug into Music and a Different Workplace Dynamic.”
3. Haake, “Music Listening Practices in Workplace Settings in the UK.”
Suggested further reading and research:
Campbell, Don; Doman, Alex (2011-09-29). Healing at the Speed of Sound: How What We Hear Transforms Our Brains and Our Lives