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How Music Offers a Positive Surge of Inspiration and Creativity

Whether you are listening to it or making it, you’ll immediately find more joy and energy.

Energy from music
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music,” wrote Mary Ann Evans, who wrote in nineteenth century England under the pen name George Eliot.

Many people turn to music to relax and calm down as a way of decreasing the “effort” of daily life. But music has just as much to offer when we need a boost of energy, a positive surge of creativity, focus and inspiration.

This isn’t just anecdotal information. Scientific research has connected music with an increase in brain chemicals associated with improved mood, including dopamine, and it may also decrease brain chemicals associated with stress responses, such as cortisol. By reducing anxiety, music can help us make more space for joy in our lives as well.

There’s more good news—music can bring us these benefits whether we are listening to it recorded, hearing it performed live, or making it ourselves.

Listening to music has become a mainstay of meeting my family’s energy-boosting needs during the pandemic.

With two adults and one 4th grader all working from home, having a headset connected to a classical music playlist has done more for me than blocking out the external sounds of classes and conference calls. It’s helped me feel noticeably more focused and productive, as if the music is awakening parts of my brain that would otherwise be searching for something else to pay attention to.

I’ve seen this benefit work for my 10-year-old as well. We recently tasked him with loading the dishwasher, which sometimes elicits grumbles and claims of being “too tired” for the job. One day, not delighting in this argument, I put on his favorite playlist of pop, dance-ready songs and watched with admiration as he sprung into action. Before long, the dishes were done, and his energy was restored. Music is now a daily accompaniment when it’s chore time.

Are you using music to improve your energy and boost your mood? Try adding these to your routine:

Sing in the shower or at the kitchen sink, or at the dinner table, or in the car, or….

–Have a family or solo dance party when you need a boost.

Pick up an instrument and learn a new tune.

–Pair music-listening with daily tasks or have lead-in music for tasks that require extra energy.

Watch live musical performances to benefit from the energy of the musicians.

How do you use music to keep yourself effortlessly energized?

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