Have you ever noticed how you feel when you're on hold with specific types of music playing in the background? It used to be elevator music in attempts to keep you calm and patient. These days it just puts you to sleep and you loose focus and forget why you called by the time the person picks up the line.
These days on hold music has gotten a bit better. Some companies have local radio playing in the background. This seems to keep people a little more engaged while on hold.
If we take some of the sciences behind why we play specific types of on hold music and we translate that to music we play within the office, you can come up with a lot more ways we can manipulate our own thoughts and emotions using music.
For example, have you noticed that when you're pissed off you tend to play the heavy metal or rock-n-roll music? Why do you think that is? Generally speaking, the music we listen to is an outward reflection of how we are feeling inside. The heavy metal reminds us of mosh pits and busting guitars on stage. When we are pissed off, we'd certainly like to be breaking things... maybe not guitars, but you see the parallel.
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When you are moody, depressed, or emotional, you might find country music more appealing. Country music reminds us that we are not the only one going through tough times. It also gives us the opportunity to wallow. We like to bask in our own misery. Country music lets us do that.
Take a minute and think about it. Maybe you can't see it in yourself, but what about that colleague you sit next no. See if you can start making the connections between people's moods and the music they listen to. It could be kind of fun!
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Now, I tell you all this because we on't have to be a victim of our emotions or of our random playlist. Instead, I suggest that you begin to manipulate yourself or your colleagues by selectively choosing the music you play in the office.
If you find yourself in a toxic environment where people are feeling angry or burnt out - try listening to fun, funky music to lift the mood.
If people are depressed or belittled - try listening to Christian music. I for one am not a religious person, but there is something to be said for the positive and uplifting vibration of Christian radio.
And the one that carried me through the last year of a toxic work environment, was listening to yoga music - specifically the likes of Snatum Kaur or Krishna Das whose message about love and light was a constant reminder to take the higher ground and not to get sucked in to the negativity around me. Listening to Buddhist music about love and light allowed me to be a light in the darkness not only for my own spirit but for those around me as well.
Try it... Experiment with music in the workplace. I want to hear about your experiences...