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Music on my mind

I often listen to music to help me concentrate, keep me motivated, make me sadder (yes I did say that), make me happier. Have you ever put a certain track on if you want to be motivated to work harder in the gym, or need to focus on something or maybe even have been through an emotionally rough time so you look for the saddest song?

I started to investigate how music affects our mood as part of the support I offer to others and even though music can have a positive effect on us there are times when we should STOP ourselves choosing that certain track.

I found the following representation of how music is processed by our brain:

Music can make us interpret things in a certain way, a piece of happy music could make us interpret a neutral expression as happy (or if we listen to sad music the same the expression might be sad). Many people really feel the music, as well as hear the music depending on their emotional state at the time.

Have you ever walked around a supermarket and really listened to the music that is being piped out across the store? A study of how supermarket music affects people took place by Nicolas Guéguen, Céline Jacob, Marcel Lourel and Hélène Le Guellec. They found that loud music causes customers to move through a supermarket more quickly, without reducing sales volume. Low-tempo music causes shoppers to move slowly, but they also buy more. Similarly at restaurants, slow music causes people to take their time but buy more. Classical music versus Top 40 music at a wine store increases sales and leads customers to buy more expensive merchandise – it also makes people think that the merchandise is expensive if played in other stores!

I have known people in work plug in their headphone / earphones to listen to ambient music to help improve their creativity. I have also known people to plug in their earphones to listen to loud or fast music to help them push through their workout in the gym or to help with a task they don’t want to do (like the housework) – I do this.

I have also known people to play a track when feeling sad over and over and over again. This tends to increase any feelings of sadness – I used to do this.

Many people listen to music when studying, it helps the information ‘bed in’.

Take a minute to think about how music can help you? Can you add music into your routine to give you motivation or to help you with concentration? Why not give it a go?

It is also worth taking a moment to think about the times when listening to certain tracks hasn’t helped.

With Love xxxx

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