Do you have a coworker who always seems to have their headphones in, tapping along with the beat or mouthing the lyrics? Maybe you are that coworker who can’t get through the day without your favorite playlists. Have you ever thought about why music is so important to your workday, whether you’re only listening to a few songs or a whole opera?
In this article of my monthly series, I’m going out of the productivity box again in an attempt to discover the link between music and work performance.
Let the music play
And I’m not alone in this endeavour. More and more researchers are diving into finding the connection between music, productivity, and our brains. They’re discovering scientific explanations on why you feel so good when that top song comes on—and how that drives your productivity.
Let us find out what happens in our mind when the beat drops and how that can help us at work.
Listening to your favorite music releases dopamine
Dopamine is known as the pleasure chemical in the brain. When your brain releases dopamine, you feel good and are more motivated to plan and think creatively. It gives you a rewarding feeling and makes you want to work harder. Scientists have started looking at the connection between dopamine and music and what this connection could mean for our mental health.
In a research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 27 participants listened to their favorite music. While first they received dopamine precursors, next they were given dopamine limiters. And in the third session, a placebo was administered, so, without knowing, they just listened to music normally.
During the session with dopamine limiters, subjects reported less pleasure when listening to music. Yet during the sessions with dopamine precursors and placebo, the same subjects reported higher levels of pleasure. Researchers believe this study highlights the relationship between music, pleasure, and motivation.
What does this mean for your workday productivity? Popping in your earbuds and enjoying your favorite jams can help you when you are stressed. And we all can agree that it’s easier to be more productive when you’re less stressed.
You can also be more productive and think through challenging situations better if you’re happy. What’s more, listening to a few songs before a stressful event, like a meeting or presentation, can help you relax.
The right music can reduce stress
Everyone has their own unique musical tastes, but some genres and styles might be better than others when it comes to improving your health. A recent study presented at the American College of Cardiology found listening to soothing music can reduce your anxiety and blood pressure levels, thus lowering your risk of a heart attack.
This was found after a seven-year study where patients received traditional health checks but half were asked to listen to soothing music for 30 minutes each day. Members of the group that listened to soothing music were 23 percent less likely to suffer subsequent heart attacks and 18 percent less likely to experience heart failure.
Use soothing music to keep your productivity levels high when working on a stressful or challenging project. Instead of being discouraged, you may find yourself getting into a better flow.
If you’re working from home, try singing
Singing along to the music you listen to can also have physical and mental health benefits, including reducing stress. This means that the private concerts at your steering wheel during your morning commute can actually have long-term benefits that extend into the workplace.
If you’re working remotely, test out singing along to a favorite song. The best part is, you don’t have to be a good singer to reap the benefits. Instead, enjoy a good sing-along before diving into your next project or task to feel less stressed, more productive, and much happier.
Find the routine that works for you
It has been scientifically proven that listening to music can reduce stress. Which in turn enhances your workplace performance. Furthermore, it will also make you happier.
Therefore, use soothing music, make playlists of your favorite songs and sing along (whenever possible). It will help you through challenging projects or even stressful meetings. Because music can go a long way in making your workday simply better.
During the time I was documenting for and then while writing this article, Norma by Bellini was playing in my headset. Music to my ears and definitely a productivity enhancer in my everyday life at work! Unexpected, I know. Yet, my going out of the box is all about finding such simple, powerful hacks 🙂