This is why you should listen to music every day.

Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

When Spotify launched a few years ago, I went BA-NA-NAS. Here was a tool I could use to have unlimited access to music!

Today, I have about 100 playlists. I basically have a playlist for each moment of my life, each activity, each purpose.

In this article, I share with you how I turned music into a tool for productivity and personal growth. Music as a life hack.

PLUS — The article is packed with some of my favorite songs and playlists!

But first, let’s get nerdy for a moment.

Music is good for humans; it is scientifically proven.

There is not much content about this online, except this guy who wrote his thesis on the effects of music on humans, and the findings are amazing:

  • “Physiologically, music has a distinct effect on many biological processes. It inhibits the occurrence of fatigue, as well as changes the pulse and respiration rates, external blood pressure levels and psychogalvanic effect.”
  • “music(…) produce a relaxed mood and stress reduction, making it a plausible way to accommodate coping with pain and anxiety.”
    Source: https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1162&context=honors

Other studies have shown some pretty funky effects:

It’s pretty clear what music does for us: it affects our mood and emotions.

The science of it is that music has a direct effect on the brain. When we hear a song or sound that affects us, it actually activates a specific part of our brain in charge of day-dreaming, introspection. The MAGIC part of the brain. It shuts down the pragmatic side of our mind and let’s us connect deeply with the music in our ears. The connexion can be so deep it can trigger emotional reactions such as an increased heart-beat, a huge smile on your face or tears rolling down your cheeks.

This is the magic of music.

Music has a prominent role in my life. I am an eternal optimist and romantic (in the literature way), so I need a soundtrack for everything I do.

What does music bring me?

Have you ever wondered what are the benefits of music for humans?

I’ve always loved singing. I used to lock myself in the toilets and sing until my mom would shout to me asking me to top. Ha! What a time!

I don’t sing loudly anymore (maybe I should start again…) but I ALWAYS have music with me.

I listen to music so much that I wake-up almost everyday with a song in my head.

Music brings edges to my daily life.

A task that would seem totally normal and sometimes boring is transformed into a scene of my own personal movie with music in my ears.

Have you ever considered music as a productivity tool? A life enhancer? Or, to use buzz words, a life hack?

I have!

After a few months of using Spotify, I started to organically categorize my music through its benefits: focus, workout, running, relax, sleep.

This is when I realised that music had turned into a productivity tool for me. A tool I used to live a better life.

Today, I share with you how I use music to improve my life, and so, how you can also use music to hack your life:

Music as a life hack.

Click on each title to listen to a song!

Music to motivate yourself:

Be it to run faster or work more efficiently, the effect music has on the brain and mindset is so powerful.

I ran my fastest run thanks to this playlist.

My deepest spans of work happen with deep house or piano music.

When I wake-up not motivated in the morning, all I need is to play this song to get myself moving on my yoga mat!

Music is my ultimate tool for motivation.

How:
When you listen to a song that makes you energetic, store it in a “Motivation” playlist. That way, you can re-use it when you don’t feel motivated!

Music to release emotions:

For the days I feel I have something on my chest. The days I need to let my joy explode. The day I feel anger building-up.

Some people drink. Some people eat. Some people watch TV. I listen to music.

When I need to cry: I listen to soft music that touches my heat. For me, this is mantras and soft music like piano.

When I need to dance: ANYTHING that makes me move! It can be hip-hop, funk, afro, or electro!

When I am angry: I usually journal when I am angry, and I like to journal with music. Another way I use to channel my anger is by dancing. I put a heavy beat, and I just let everything come-up to the surface.

When I practice YOGA! The best yoga experiences I’ve were accompanied with amazing music. I will always remember a class I took at Jivamukti Yoga in Berlin where the teacher took us into headstands on THIS SONG! (you want to click on this link, really). This was the most powerful headstand of my life, and I know it was partly because of the music (+ the amazing teacher, the practice and the dharma talk).

I use music as a catalyst for my emotions. My rule is to give space to all of my feelings, “good” and “bad” ones, to express themselves. I find music is a healthy channel of expression.

Music for deep work and focus:

I’ve had the most profound flows thanks to music.

I lived this experience when I started freelancing. I would enter into these deep flow moments of two to three hours, where I’d cut myself entirely from the world and produce high-quality work. I was focused, so much that I completely lost myself in the task I was performing.

If you’d like to read more about Flow states, check this video by the founder of Positive Psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

I listened to soft electro or piano playlists during these flow moments.

Music to boost productivity:

I also listen to deep house when I need to be uber productive. You know, when a deadline is coming and you’re behind. When you don’t feel the motivation to finish that piece but have to. Music gets me through it all. More than that, it makes me fly through all of it.

When I was a child, our janitor would accompany me to my friend’s house which was at the end of our street.

He would take my hand, and we’d start running. He ran so fast compared to me that I felt lifted by the aero dynamism. I was flying. His speed made me fly.

This is how I feel with deep house when I need to crush something. It carries me through it.

Music to boost performance:

Ok, this is one of my favorite use of music: if I listen to the right type of music, I can drastically increase my workout performance.

Here’s what used to be my performance when running:

And here’s one of my latest run:

My fastest run ever. I did it while listening to this playlist.

I could feel during the run the effect of music on my motivation. This was not motivation anymore, this was inspiration, really. I run with a smile. I don’t feel my lungs burning, I don’t feel my legs working. My attention and my mind are connected to something bigger, and so, I surpass the limits of what I thought my body could do.

Music makes me run faster than I ever ran!

Music for love-making:

Believe it or not, I have always used music when having sex. It makes the whole experience more sensual. I keep fond memories of moments shared with loved ones with music in the background. It makes the experience more magical, which, I feel, is important to us women, or at least, to me.

Music for relaxing / sleep:

I have unique playlists for long airplane rides. Or for when your roommate is loud (hum). Or to help me sleep the day before a big event.

This is my favorite playlist for sleep.

Music for creativity:

I have created a set of playlist just for my creative writing. I have playlists catered to each emotion I want to convey as well as a general playlist for the book I am writing.

I always tell my friends: “I don’t write, the music makes me write.” If I had to use an analogy, it would as if music was the nitro to my writing. It boosts everything, like when I used to run with my janitor, I feel lifted, and all I need to do is ride that wave.

For example,

I use this song for moments of epiphany, this one to describe peaceful moments in Bali, this song for nostalgia full of gratitude, this song for moments of courage.

If you want to create something, anything, and feel stuck, I recommend you put some tunes you like, and you’ll probably start typing/drawing/dancing/sculpting/placeholder in no time!

I feel this list could go on and on! But you get it: music is a powerful and highly tailorable tool for an enhanced life!

A life hack, really.

The more you use music, and are aware of its effect on your life, the easier it will become for you to extend its usage to other areas of your life.

I know silence has its virtue and is necessary from time to time, but other than that, I always have headphones or speakers on!

Headphones/ I have a crush on my Beats by Dre. They’re wireless (perfect for running and yoga), they’re noise canceling, and the bass is super sturdy (which is the most powerful feature for me in music).

Speaker/ I use a baby speaker because of my nomadic life. JBL Go that I acquired when I was in Bali. For the usage I have (which is listen in my room, or when I am on my scooter in Bali LOL), it is perfect.

What is your story with music? Have you ever taken the time to stop and think of what magic music brings to your life?

If not, this is me inviting you to do so!

I share more every day on my Instagram account — check it out!