The Magic of Music
“One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain.” - Bob Marley; Reggae legend. Soulful mystic. Rastafarian poet. Not a board certified medical physician.
But professional training aside, one of the world’s favorite unlicensed spiritual healers wasn’t wrong about the transformative powers of music. Reams of research suggest that music has the capacity to soothe pain in the sick, to activate the brain in those suffering from dementia, and to elevate moods and enhance everyday activities for anyone. We are, as a scientific fact, healthier with music in our lives.
So how, you might ask, does one specifically tap into that positive vibration?
The gym. Do you even list, bro? As in, do you build a playlist? If you’re working out and aren’t dialing in – to a media player, a streaming service, a radio station – then you’re missing out. Evidence suggests that music can increase physical endurance, heighten mental focus and improve performance. Want to knock out that last rep? Go the extra mile? Fire up the bouncing hip-hop, crunchy punk and killer rock anthems – any bangers of your choice – to amplify your efforts and empty the tank.
Cooking. Ever prepare what should have been a mouthwatering dish or an epic meal and felt like something was missing? That’s because it was! At the end of a long day, or in the mad dash between prepping your appetizer and mixing your main dish, it can be easy to forget an ingredient. Or three. But with a bit of background music to bring your mind into focus – soulful R&B, downtempo dance, inspiring folk tracks, or yes, reggae – you’re more likely to stay in the moment and on task. And because music is a natural mood booster, what might have been a chore becomes an exercise in tranquility.
Studying. Energy drinks might help you stay awake for a late-night cram session, but they’ll also have you bouncing off the walls and keep every nerve firing hours after you thumped the last book shut. Queueing up your favorite tunes can help quicken your mind, sharpen your focus and stretch your stamina – without overstimulating you to the point of insomnia when it’s time to pack it in. Lyrics too distracting? Shuffle a playlist of classical standards or loungey electro – the perfect soundtracks to help enhance memory and galvanize critical thinking.
Cooldown. Wrapping up at the gym? Hit the massage table. Because music has the power to either stimulate or relax, now is the time to lower the pitch and slow the tempo. A pair of strong hands and a New Age playlist can reduce stress and anxiety while helping to relieve soreness and pain. Back at home and ready to call it a night? A soundtrack of tinkling piano, chill jazz, ambient electronica, or even the calming sounds of celestial or white noise can help you tune down and prepare your body for the sweet rhythms of sleep.
No matter what genres connect most with you, there are plenty of musical varieties out there to help you bring out the best in all you do.
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