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Happy Music Boosts Imaginative Thinking, Say Researchers

If your brain’s all foggy and you can’t seem to come up with new ideas for work or other creative projects, you may be able to clear the clouds by simply turning on some happy music. According to The Guardian, a new study shows that a blast of happy music helps your imaginative thinking break through — a type of thinking that’s essential for scientific, technological and cultural innovation, study authors said.

Music activates several brain areas, including the amygdala, which is involved in the processing of emotion, and the medial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in the retrieval of both long- and short-term memories, so it’s easy to understand the science of why music may help with your creative thinking. Likewise, music has also been shown to be effective in unlocking memories and improving quality of life for dementia patients.

New studies show music can have a powerfully therapeutic effect on dementia patients, helping them recall otherwise irretrievable memories, regain a sense of self and reconnect with family members over shared memories. It also reduces the need for less psychotropic medication.

If you’re lost when it comes to new ideas, creative imaging has also been shown to work wonders. Imagery is the natural language of your brain, which is in part why guided imagery exercises are so powerful for changing thoughts and behavior — so powerful that it can even help you address worries you may have in your everyday life.

Learning to shut your imagination off, and then using your imagination on purpose is important because the default setting is to look for problems and dangers. To harness the power of visualization like this, one thing you can do is practice breathing exercises and relaxing your body part by part. Imagine being in a beautiful, peaceful place where you feel safe. This could be either a real or imaginary place. Spend 10 or 20 minutes there to interrupt the stress response.
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