Music has influenced human behavior practically since the dawn of time and it continues to influence both our lives and our feelings every day. Some people listen to music to gain inspiration, some listen to it to improve their mood, while some listen to it to channel their inner rage, when reality becomes too harsh to bear. Nevertheless, music helps people in various situations, but the question is why do we find music so appealing?

The main reason is that music affects our brains by stimulating the neurons (nerve cells) to produce dopamine, also known as a “feel good chemical”, which induces the feeling of pleasurable and rewarding stimuli. Simply put, it’s what makes you feel good, happy and motivated. That’s why listening to music in various situations can affect your mood, especially in situations that have a tendency to become quite stressful, such as working. Let’s check out what listening to music while working does to your brain.

Improves motivation and productivity

Listening to music helps people deal with repetitive mundane tasks much easier. Repetitive tasks, such as reading or answering emails, tend to become quite overwhelming even if they’re not complex by nature. As mentioned before, listening to music we like helps produce neurotransmitters that make us feel good. These feelings help people perform tasks more efficiently and with fewer mistakes, while giving them the sense of accomplishment.

source: Pexels

In short, music helps motivate people to complete tasks faster as their brain compensates them with a sense of reward. For example, if you finish your daily tasks faster, you’ll have more free time and your brain will make you feel good with a sense of accomplishment, while listening to music will motivate you to strive towards that feeling. Moreover, studies have shown that music also improves productivity, helping you be more efficient at your work. That’s why you will feel like spending $10 on creating your own playlist on Spotify is a good investment that will help you become more productive.

Escape from a noisy office

Crowded office spaces can get too noisy and therefore too distracting. Trying to eliminate the noise and focus on work can be next to impossible. As a matter of fact, your brain will try to make sense of the coworker chatter and other noises in the office whether you’re aware of it or not. This brain function takes a lot of energy. Not to mention that it increases the levels of cortisol in your brain, which is a stress-inducing hormone, and reduces the levels of dopamine.

source: Pixabay

This will make you less productive and more agitated at work. However, listening to music can help cancel out the noise and, although you might play your favorite YouTube or Deezer playlists in the background, unfortunately it won’t be enough to eliminate the noise completely. You can, however, plug in your in-ear headphones and eliminate the outside noise altogether. That way you can listen to your favorite music and focus on work.

Improves creativity and accuracy

Even if you’re good at something, listening to music can make you even better. As an example, surgeons always listen to music and playlists on Spotify, to help them focus and make them more accurate when performing complex surgeries. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study in which they found out that surgeons performed more accurately when they were listening to the music they preferred. Also, the music they didn’t prefer was the second best, while not listening to music was of no help at all.

That means that if you listen to the music you prefer you’ll be more focused, productive and less likely to make a mistake, even though you’re already good at what you’re doing. Furthermore, studies have shown that reasonable noise levels coming from music can inspire creativity during brainstorming and creative sessions. It seems that the ambient music playing in the background is extremely helpful and works best for your creativity, but only if it’s not too low- or too high-pitched noise.

Interferes with the learning process

With all the positive effects music has on our brains, one would think there aren’t any downsides. Sadly, when it comes to learning new information, listening to music can be too distracting and counterproductive. The main reason is that when learning new information, your brain has to process and memorize that new information.

source: Flickr

However, when you add music to the equation, your brains has to process additional auditory information alongside information you’re trying to comprehend and memorize. This multitasking activity in your brain may cause information to be stored inadequately or cause you to have trouble remembering what’s important.  This is especially true if the music you listen to contains lyrics. Therefore, if you’re about to learn something new at work, set aside your music until you learn it.

Music is one of the most creative inventions humanity has ever created. It influences our mood and emotions, while enriching our lives. It even helps us be more efficient, focused and productive at work, where normally some days, people are anything but. So, why not give in to the joy of music? After all, it makes our lives a lot better.

Oscar Waterworth – a digital nomad, writer and senior editor at BizzmarkBlog. By working with product development teams for nearly a decade now, he has gained a great deal of insight on remote team management and project operations in the startup sphere.