By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer
Do you ever listen to music at work to help keep focus? Do you have a particular artist or genre that you listen to in different moods? Dr. Ellen Weber says that research suggests many peoples’ tendencies to turn on some tunes exist because the brain rewards that behavior. Listening to music shifts your brain waves that control how neurons communicate.
Interestingly enough, it looks like people tend to respond to certain genres in different ways as well. In his book The Mozart Effect, Don Campbell conducted interviews to see how people responded across genres. According to Campbell:
Gregorian chant creates quiet in our minds and can reduce stress.
Slower Baroque music, such as Bach, Handel, Vivaldi or Corelli, can create mentally stimulating environments for creativity and new innovations.
Classical music, such as Haydn and Mozart, often improves concentration and memory when played in the background.
Romantic music, such as Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky , Chopin and Liszt, enhances our senses and increases a sense of sympathy and love.
Impressionist music, such as Debussy, Faure and Ravel, can unlock dreamlike images that put us in touch with our unconscious thoughts and belief systems.
Jazz, blues, soul or calypso music can uplift and inspire us, releasing deep joy or even deep sadness, conveying wit and affirming our common humanity.
Salsa, rhumba, merengue and any form of South American music sets our hearts racing, gets us moving, both relaxing us and awakening us at the same time.
Big band, Top 40 and country music engage our emotions and comfort us.
Rock music, from Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones, stirs passion and activity, and so can release daily tensions. Rock can also mask pain and cover up unpleasant noises. It also has the power to create dissonance, stress or physical pain if we are not in the mood for energizing.
Ambient or New Age music such as Stephen Halpern and Brian Eno has no dominant rhythm, so it elongates the sense of space and time, inducing a state of relaxed alertness.
Heavy metal and hip-hop music excites our nervous system, and sometimes leads us into acting out dynamic behavior and self-expression.
Religious and sacred music such as hymns and gospel moves us to feel grounded in the moment, and leads to deep peace and spiritual awareness. Sacred music often helps us to transcend pain.
So the next time you feel down at work, consider getting out your headphones and listening to music while you work. It might just make your day a little brighter (and more productive).
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