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Music for the soul

I used to hate listening to music at work, actually, correction – I used to hate listening to others play music whilst working. I felt that if they had tunes on, it surely meant they weren’t working as hard as they should. And, now I find myself unable to work, write or think without it! So I delved a little deeper and it’s been fascinating.

Why you love music: When you listen to music, a part of your brain called the nucleus accumbens activates. This triggers the release of the ‘pleasure chemical’ – Dopamine, the same chemical released when you eat your fav food or when you get a new follower on Twitter, causing you to want more, more, more!

Music was meant to keep you alive: Neuroscientist and musician, Jamshed Bharucha noted that creative domains, like music, allow humans to connect in a synchronised way, helping us develop a group identity and makes us more likely to work together. Researchers have concluded that music may have evolved as a way of fostering a sense of community and developing immediate empathetic concern.

So Holly of the past, you were wrong – music does make you better at your job – fact.

Music helps you finish boring tasks faster: Because listening to music you like, is pleasurable. It will not only make the task seem more fun, but research shows, it can actually help you complete the task faster.

But, press pause when learning something new: When you’re presented with new information that’s complicated, it takes more focus and mental energy for you to grasp and apply that knowledge. So when you’re tackling something new (or reversing a car!) and complex, put your headphones down and learn without distraction.

If you’re good at what you do, music works: The magic of music comes into play the most when you’re an expert, even if it’s something as challenging as surgery. If you’re working on something you’ve done many times before, even if complicated, your performance can increase and less errors likely when listening to music you like.

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