An argument for headphones at work

Over the past 7 years, I have grown a lot. I am a natural pessimist. In an instant, I can become certain the worst-case scenario is happening. However, I have also come to prioritize seeking happiness and joy in my life. These are my primary goals. There are many factors which increase happiness (and productivity) which we will explore on this blog. Today, I am focusing on music and its impact on happiness and productivity.

I am sure there is a song that makes you smile every time you hear it on the radio (or Spotify). Sixpence None the Richer – Kiss me and Don Mclean – American Pie can always bring a smile to my face, partially because they bring back childhood to me and partially because they are just great songs. Thankfully, a team out of Australia recently provided me with some data to back the claim that listening to music can make you happier. In a study with the absolutely amazing name, “If your happy and you know it: music engagement and subjective wellbeing”, they found a relationship between increased subjective wellbeing (a measure of life satisfaction) and engaging with music by dancing or attending live events. These results emphasized the importance of music in social settings for happiness.

Best yet, not only do people feel more satisfied with their lives when they dance or experience music, music has been shown to encourage the release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter known to be released in response to positive things such as a good smell or sex) in the brain.  Music keeps the brain from wandering – which is great because I know when my brain wanders if finds it way to a list of all the things that could go wrong that day.  Researchers have shown that listening to music while working keeps people focused on the task, leading to tasks being completed more quickly. Music-listening employees also came up with better ideas than music-free coworkers. It is believed these results are thanks to an elevated mood of the music listeners.

It is recommended to try non-lyrical music to see how it can influence your mood as that will elevate your mood and productivity without having you distracted by lyrics or singing “Bye, Bye Bye” to your coworkers. One of my favorites is the Pandora Classical Goes Pop station.

What do you listen to at work? Are you allowed to listen to music? What are your happy songs?

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