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Boost Productivity with Music

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Got an intense workout to get through, a research paper to write, or a bear of a chore list to complete–but not feeling it?  You might want to listen to “heroic” music to motivate you, says a study published this summer in Scientific Reports.

This study found that listening to “heroic” music improves attention and focus while encouraging motivating thoughts and listening to “sad” music can help you process through feelings of sadness.  One of the benefits to listening to heroic music is that it decreases mind-wandering and distractions.

Heroic music is defined as strong and energetic.  The main difference between happy and sad music is the difference in their tempos.  Researchers played music and asked the participants about their mental states as they listened, and they consistently found that sad music caused more mind-wandering.

After listening to heroic music, participants believe that a gray-colored square is brighter, and conversely, listening to sad music can increase negative ruminations and may be a relapse trigger for those who have depressive tendencies or depression.

The key to success and balanced emotions may be as simple as cueing up the right song!


  1. Koelsch, Stefan, et al. “Heroic Music Stimulates Empowering Thoughts during Mind-Wandering.” Scientific Reports, vol. 9, 16 July 2019, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-46266-w.


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