Over the last few months I have spent a considerable amount of time in writing mode, putting together new material for workshops, writing a new book, and keeping up with my blog. All of which require me to sit at my desk in front of my computer.
Now my brain works best when it is quiet, so there is no radio, no music or other noise on when I am at work. But then I started to realised that my self-imposed exile in my office was actually not terribly good for my mood. It was all getting a bit the same, even a bit flat – hardly the right thinking space for creative thinking and writing.
The answer – I needed to reinvigorate myself and the way I like to do that is by listening to music.
Being an 80’s girl (yes I know: big hair and shoulder pads) my music may not be everybody’s cup of tea but that’s not what matters. What does matter is finding the right music that will give your brain a bit of a lift.
So now, I make sure I put on some music even if only for a short time before I get into the heavy work of thinking.
The result? It works! I feel much more energised, confident and I get more done as a result of simply feeling happier.
So now I understand why my mentor Matt Church has music playing before any of his workshop sessions. I quite like his music choices too.
And there is research that backs this up too, which is nice. It’s always good to have what you intuitively know, backed up with a bit of science. Studies from the University of Missouri showed that individuals could successfully boost their mood in the short term and their overall happiness in a two-week period by listening to upbeat music. It will be no surprise to hear that it doesn’t work listening to sad or sombre stuff. The researchers also noted that it is important not to get too hung up on using music simply as a means to get happy but as just a process that overall will result in us experiencing a greater amount of positive experience in our life.
When we are more positive and happier:
• We think better
• We are more creative and innovative
• We have a broader perspective on things
• We tend to show better judgment
• We are better at problem solving
• We learn more effectively
• We remember more
• We get more done
So how do you lift your mood? Do you use music or other means such as exercise, or perhaps you go for a combo. Perhaps the most important thing is to simply notice what gives you joy and go for that.
Time to ramp up some more Eurythmics!
Yuna L. Ferguson, Kennon M. Sheldon. Trying to be happier really can work: Two experimental studies. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2013; 8 (1): 23 DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2012.747000