How Classical Music Is Making Me Productive
By Jon Belt
I never thought in a million years that I would be rocking out to and loving classical music.
My go to before were playlists like this:
Swagga Like Us by T.I.
Heartbeats by The Knife
Not Afraid by Eminem
Wake Up by Arcade Fire
Where is My Mind? by Pixies
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 by The Flaming Lips
Diary of Jane by Breaking Benjamin
Through Glass by Stone Sour
MakeDamnSure by Taking Back Sunday
Help I'm Alive by Metric
These are just a few, I didn't get into hair bands, 70's Rock, or 90's Rap/Hip Hop.
So, yes it's a bit of a shock to my brain to know that classical might be my new jam, at least for being productive.
I have made it a point to search classical through Spotify on numerous occasions in my classroom because
1. It has no cuss words (cheers!) AND 2. It is soothing and I've read it helps with studying and remembering
BUT I never thought I would be listening to it in my spare time. Maybe, it's just me getting old.
I'm sure there is research out there talking about the benefits, but I'm not big on determining how helpful something is because a few rats had a couple connections change within their brain cells. I like to experiment with it myself before I get too excited about the research I didn't see for myself.
But if you enjoy the research, here are a few pieces to look over.
The Mozart Effect
Studying for Finals
Mozart Make You Smarter
Oxford University Study
Improves Sleep Quality
Increase in Productivity
When listening to the classics like Bach, Beethoven, or Mozart my sense of accomplishment and production goes up. I'm focused, and determined to get whatever task I'm working on finished. When I don't have my headphones in with the classics I'm easily distracted. So, try it out and tell me what you think.
By Jon Belt
Cold showers are crazy! Why on earth would anyone jump in a cold shower unless tortured or on a game show to win money? Two months ago I decided to be crazy after watching a TedxLUC by Joel Runyon and I can't go back.
To preface, I was in a dead spot in my life and remember reading an article from Tony Robbins about the power of cold water.
Cold water immersion activates the body’s natural healing powers that can relieve the symptoms of many medical conditions and promote a sense of health and well-being. And when practiced on a regular basis, cold water immersion can even provide long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that enhance the overall quality of your life." Tony Robbins
Cold showers and cold therapy have been popping up a lot lately and for good reason - the benefits far outweigh the cringe-worthiness.
Benefits such as:
1. Decrease in depression
2. Stimulates weight loss
3. Refines hair and skin
These benefits are excellent but weren't the motivating factor to jump in. The motivating factor was when Joel Runyon spoke of doing uncomfortable things. Cold showers are never comfortable, they always hurt. My life is fairly easy, and even easier to get into comfort zones. Teaching or jobs in itself can become comfortable at times. I am a proponent of the quote "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" by Neale Donald Walsch - and I continue to stretch myself out of these on a daily basis. Cold showers do this for me every day, and I'm not saying that my comfort zones have magically dissipated (far from it), but I am stretching that uncomfortable muscle every day in hopes of being comfortable doing uncomfortable things. Things like writing this article, talking to strangers, public speaking, exercising, fasting, being social, and many more uncomfortable things that I know will bring me closer to understanding myself and being happy - because progress equals happiness, and comfort zones are not progressive.
Progress Equals Happiness
How I Got Started...
Watched the TEDxLUC talk from Joel Runyon
Understand that you need to do this about four times before they start becoming "comfortably uncomfortable."
They are much easier if jumping in after a workout.
*Sidenote If you absolutely cannot just jump in, end your hot shower with a minute of cold (baby steps).
Set a timer for 5-7 minutes, and play dance-worthy music, because after jumping in the cold you are going to want to dance to rid your mind of the sting.
After the timer is up, and you are drying off don't focus on how cold you are, but focus on how great you feel and the habit will be worth it in the end.
**Note Jumping into a cold shower can stimulate the immune system and increase your risk of developing cold symptoms. Also, jumping into a cold shower causes the blood vessels to constrict, and become narrower which could affect blood flow.
***Always consult a physician if you have a history of heart related problems.
Jon Belt is a middle school teacher in Oklahoma City, and the host of the Teacher Tunnel Podcast.