What type of music do you like to listen to? Do you prefer sad, melodic music, or do you usually pick happy, upbeat music? The music we choose can have a direct impact on our mood and demeanor, but also on our creativity.
Most people know that music is a great way to get into the zone — whether that be a melancholy zone, or a “I’m so energized I just gotta dance” zone. A new study brings scientific data to the connection between music and our moods.
Happy creativity: Listening to happy music facilitates divergent thinking
Writing in the journal Plos One, psychologists believe that listening to happy music can boost creativity by helping people to think more flexibly.
“When getting stuck in a rut, it can be helpful, instead of digging deeper, to dig elsewhere.”
It is not only artists who could benefit from happy music, the authors add:
“Music listening can be easily integrated into daily life,” they write, and may boost imaginative thinking in “scientific, educational and organizational settings when creative thinking is needed.” – Simone M. Ritter, Sam Ferguson in PLOS ONE
The study concluded that people who listened to positive, upbeat music, had a quantifiable boost in creativity, compared with people listening to other types of music.
And a boost is unquestionably needed. The authors assert:
“Creativity is the driving force behind scientific, technological and cultural innovation, and it can be considered one of the key competences for the 21st century. The problems we face in our complex and fast-changing world more than ever demand creative thinking. However, we are in a creativity crisis, people in general are thinking less creatively than before.”
A Moods Crisis
Clearly, music has a direct impact on creativity — listen to sad music, and you’re more likely to feed depressed and unable to think outside the box. Tune into some happy, energizing music and you’re more apt to feel more alive and stimulated. But it’s not just about stimulating creativity — it’s about your general mood. We seem to be in a funk these days, with people feeling burnt out and de-motivated. For some odd reason, certain people opt to torture themselves by listening to sad, almost mournful music when they’re feeling down. Why?
One of the best ways to improve your mood and energize your mind and body, is to get up and move — to think and feel good thoughts and let a positive energy wash through you. When you’re feeling down, resist the temptation to listen to melancholic music and instead, listen to something light, airy and upbeat — you’ll notice your mood improving pretty fast.