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6 Ways to Feel Happier, Be Healthier

How a positive attitude really can make a difference

Listening to music helps with a good nights sleep.

Music can reduce arthritis pain, lower blood pressure and promote healing. — Larry Fink/Gallery Stock

2. Turn Up the Music

Even before we're born, we can hear music, and it holds us in its power throughout life.

Soothing, melodic music blunts stress and provides comfort. Bright, upbeat tunes set toes tapping and boost flagging energy. Relaxing music serves as an easy and safe way to improve sleep. Music helps keep both mind and body healthy and resilient,and it activates specific brain regions involved in emotion and memory.

"If you listen to a song that triggers a memory from your past, it evokes generally positive visual and emotional memories," says Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Davis. He suggests listening to familiar music that you know puts you in a good mood. "Up-tempo, bright and cheery music is always a good bet," he says. "It will help you get out of bed in the morning in a good mood.

Music remains a part of people's lives no matter how old they are.

"We've just finished a study where we created customized playlists based on music from their past for people with Alzheimer's disease," Janata says.

The researchers found that the men and women were substantially less agitated and anxious when they listened to this music. "We often don't think to play music for people who are no longer able to ask for it, but it's important that we remember."

”Music  affects every part of the body," adds research professor Adarsh Kumar of the University of Miami Medical School. "If you relax with music, your body chemistry changes, and your behavior changes."

Next: Happiness Tip No. 3: Laugh it off. >>

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