Thursday, January 16, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 3

I don't know anyone who doesn't like music. Sure, people may disagree on what they like to listen to, but there seems to be something about music that makes it an important part of the human experience.

We use music in celebration, in mourning, in spiritual practices, to create bonds with one another across cultures and generations, to enhance our physical activities.  If you think about it, there's hardly any situation that can't be made better by the addition of music.

And, increasingly, science is starting to uncover why music is such an important part of our lives.

For one thing, listening to music helps boost our immune systems, creating antibodies to fight disease.  Music can also create a noticeable increase in recovery from a wide range of conditions, including heart disease, lung ailments, stroke and even the common cold. Even in our day-to-day lives, listening to good music helps reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels.

Have you ever had the experience of hearing a song and being instantly transported to a different time and place? Maybe it was a song from your teenage years, or music that you and a special someone considered "your song". This same principle applies to people suffering from dementia. It has been shown that music can bring back memories for these people that are not otherwise available to them.

And, if that wasn't enough, studies have found that certain kinds of music, especially classical piano music, can raise spatial reasoning the equivalent of 9 IQ points.

We don't yet fully understand how it is that music has such profound effects on us. But, that shouldn't stop us from enjoying this gift as often as we can.

So, when you wake up in the morning, instead of turning on your TV, start your day off with music. If you're feeling stressed at work, close your office door for a few minutes, turn on a good tune and dance like nobody's watching. When the kids are bickering, instead of shouting at them, put on some calming classical music and let it work its magic.

Make good music a part of your life every day, and you will be happier and healthier!

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