Music is universally loved by people of all ages. We can safely say that it fulfils life’s purpose of creating harmony and healing in a myriad of ways. It also traverses cultural boundaries and unites people’s hearts and minds. It does not demand active attention and listening and can be simply played in the background to create the desired ambiance, while engaged in other activity. Listening to music puts us in a carefree and relaxed mode – one that can either calm us down or give more energy – depending on the type of music.
What a beautiful part of creation music is, is it not ? It is this fantastic, versatile and rhythmic aspect of humankind that enriches our lives by simply being present. Life without music would be dull drudgery. The whisper of the wind, buzzing of the bees, fluttering of the butterfly, dancing of the blades of grass creates a liveliness in our being that makes us want to sing and dance. This shows that music is all pervasive ! The cosmos also has vibrations and sounds, which we can hear if we are sensitive to the frequencies. In fact, there are machines at various frequencies that record the sounds of the universe.
In essence, response to music is natural. Science has proven that all of life is sensitive to music – plants, animals, human beings etc. The human response is perhaps the most researched and documented of all. A large-scale review was conducted by McGill University where, after reviewing more than 400 research papers into the neurochemistry of music, researchers found that listening to music not only helped to reduce a patient’s stress, it also improved immune system function and was more effective than prescription medications at reducing patient anxiety prior to surgery. The study was published in the March 2013 edition of Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Some benefits of listening to music are:
1) Reduces stress and anxiety.
2) Improves memory.
3) Aids cognitive development – especially in children.
4) Can lead to language proficiency, spatial and temporal reasoning.
5) Enhances the emotional connection to people and things – universal unifier.
Given these tremendous benefits why not make music a part of your daily life? Here are some of the ways to use music for relaxation, motivation and creating a positive experience of tedious chores.
1) Cleaning: Cleaning can get tedious, laborious and energy draining. No one enjoys tedious work especially when low on energy. Putting on upbeat music can give a instant lift to the mind, body and energy, and before you know it you are enjoying the same cleaning task that used to make you weary.
2) Cooking: Eating is a most delightful experience. To enjoy the eating, one has to enjoy the cooking. After all nothing beats the aroma and relish of a freshly cooked meal. But not everyone loves to cook. You can add life and love to the cooking by listening to music that you enjoy. Food cooked with joy and love is always more savory. Who knows, music may even turn you into a good cook, a skill that you never knew you had.
3) Eating: Putting on music during meal time is relaxing. Relaxation lowers the cortisol levels and organs in the system function efficiently, making it easy to digest the food. What is surprising is that we chew properly, eat slowly, consume lesser quantity and enjoy the food more. It is a win-win situation.
4) Working: We are more productive when our mind is relaxed, focused and calm. Playing music as you work creates a relaxing experience and removes the drudgery of long work hours. Soft and soothing background music takes the edge off the stress and keeps cortisol levels in check. This means you will smile more, have more energy and motivation when you arrive to work.
5) Driving: Long commutes and sitting in traffic seem to be the norm in cities. This is a good time to listen to all the music that you had no time for and maybe even learn to sing along. Listening and singing relieves the stress of long drives and navigating through heavy traffic. Overall you arrive at your destination much safer and happier.
6) Sleeping: After a long day of work, everyone looks forward to a night of sound, deep and restful sleep. Getting good sleep is important to feel alert and active the next day. Music is a great sleep aid. Research has found that “music can assist in improving sleep quality of patients with acute and chronic sleep disorders.” Listening to soft sleep music slows down the breath, calms and soothes the mind as you drift off into sound sleep.
Music is the most creative of man’s accomplishments. People of all ages (Infants to Seniors) can deeply relate to music. Listening to music influences the brain waves to promote healing. Make music an integral part of your life to bring exuberance and joy even while doing the most mundane tasks.
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