The Sound of Success:
Utilizing Music to Increase Brain Power and Enhance Performance
In today’s busy and frenetic work environment, it can be really tough to maintain focus. Text message alerts, email pop ups and a million other things constantly jockey for our attention and pull us away from productivity. When we lose focus, the quality of our work suffers and the depth of our creative insight is weakened.
Fortunately, there are many ways to increase concentration and some of them are actually quite enjoyable. Since the dawn of time, humans have used musical expression as a way to relieve stress and to help make sense of the world. Music is truly a powerful medicine and a tremendous asset.
The research literature around the benefits that music offers both to those playing and listening have been very clear. While there is still ongoing debate around which types of music are best for productivity, in general, sound therapy and music listening are well researched and scientifically validated means of increasing brain power and enhancing performance at an extremely low cost to both individuals and firms.
Today it is well accepted that music can:
- Improve your Mood
- Increase Creative and Technical Output
- Bring you into the Present Moment
- Enhance your Efficiency with Repetitive Tasks
- Spark Ingenuity and Innovation
Keep reading to learn more about how you can strategically utilize different kinds of music to increase your brainpower, lower stress, improve concentration and make you a sharper and more agile entrepreneur.
Return to Nature
Nature sounds are recordings captured of natural phenomena such as babbling brooks, gentle bird song or the lapping waves of some idyllic oceanic destination. While there are many types of nature sounds available for purchase or free to stream on websites like YouTube, what connects them all is their ability to pacify the mind, body and spirit.
Research has shown that listening to nature sounds has a very clear and measurable effect on cognitive skills as well as our ability to handle stress. There is benefit in listening to nature sounds while you are engaged with work related tasks or simply as a respite from the challenges you are facing. In either application, the end result is the same: a more powerful, productive and relaxed mental environment.
Don’t Forget the Classics
Classical music is considered by many to be the pinnacle of western creativity. There is just something quite interesting and unique in the way classical composers such as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven among others were able to convey so many themes of rich human emotion into extremely mathematically complex pieces of music. Classical music may or may not be your cup of tea but when you consider the way it can impact your brain, you very well may reconsider exploring this expansive genre.
Multiple studies have found immense benefits from listening to classical music. For starters, classical music has been shown to increase the ability of participants of all ages to complete complex tasks when compared to listening to no music or listening to what is considered dissonant music. There is something very special about what classical music does to the brain and how it can actually enhance our natural abilities.
Whether in moments of high stress or simply to break up the silence of your work environment, classical music is a great choice for increasing productivity.
Your Opinion Matters
Ok, so you very well may have rolled your eyes at my first two suggestions if they are not musical genres that you have spent a great deal of time with. Some of us have really terrible memories of being forced to listen to nature sounds or classical music at earlier points in life. As a result, these genres may not be as beneficial as ones closer to our hearts.
What has been shown is that generally, when people listen to music that they enjoy and that is emotionally resonant with them, focus is increased and brain power improves. The point about emotional resonance is important to take note of. If you listen to music which you enjoy but which invokes painful or challenging memories, these things can really get in the way of functioning at your best.
To improve your creative output when muscling through challenging tasks, consider playing some music that you really enjoy. To take things even further consider humming or singing along. Really let yourself get immersed in the music. The more you can create a mental link between the positive associations you have with the music and the work you are doing, the easier it will be to accomplish.
Say Less, Have More
While listening to your own music may have some clear benefits, if that music is excessively lyrical, it could actually be more distracting than you realize. It has been shown that as background music for fueling productivity, music without lyrics vastly outperforms even the same types of music with the lyrical content and vocal tracks removed.
In general, consider saving the music with lyrics for situation specific usages such as pumping yourself up before a challenging task or as a way to let some stress out after completing something essential. By all means though, make time during your work day to listen to some things that you enjoy. You will be happier and you will enjoy your work environment much more.
Do the Wave
Perhaps you have heard of the concept of “brainwave entrainment”? In essence this term refers to stimulation from sounds, lights or electromagnetic waves which generate specific brain states. To simplify things further, brainwave entrainment is one of the hottest productivity hacks sweeping the world. It can refer to many products and services but for the purposes of this article, I am limiting my scope to isochronic and binaural tones.
Isochronic and binaural tones are often repetitive musical tracks which may or may not have conventional, normal sounding music layered underneath them. When listening to these, your brain is influenced in a very specific way by these forms of music. There are many different types of isochronic and binaural tones but a great deal of them have been created and marketed specifically to increase brain power.
Brainwave entrainment is one of the most exciting areas of sound therapy to explore as an entrepreneur. For many people around the world, listening to these tones has been a true game changer and secret tool in their ascent to glory. Whether you are looking for background music or something to take the edge off after a hard day, there are many firms selling high quality isochronic and binaural tones and you can even find many free samples on the internet or YouTube though it should be noted these will not be of the highest quality as the products being sold.
Mix It, Match It, Make It Your Own
I encourage you to explore any of the ideas listed above. Music is a powerful tool that can help you to reach your goals and secure the success you aspire to. See what works and feels best for you.
There is no right or wrong music to listen to but it is important to understand that a simple choice like turning on some sound could make a huge difference in your mental capacity to succeed.
Break up the silence and you just might be surprised by how much more you can achieve!