A new study revealed that the key to thriving, rather than just surviving, could be as simple as feeling good about life and yourself, and being good at something, according to a report by the Science Daily.
Daniel Brown, a sport and exercise scientist at the University of Portsmouth, studied all the research on what makes people thrive, from studies of babies and teenagers, to studies of artists, athletes, employees, and the elderly. He found a common denominator.
“Thriving is a word most people would be glad to hear themselves described as, but which science hasn't really managed to consistently classify and describe until now,” he said.
Brown added that it appeared to come down to an individual experiencing a sense of development, of getting better at something, and succeeding at mastering something.
“In the simplest terms, what underpins it is feeling good about life and yourself and being good at something,” he said.
The study established that though thriving is similar to resilience, prospering, or growth, it stands alone.
“Since the end of the 20th century, there has been a quest in science to better understand human fulfillment and thriving, there's been a shift towards wanting to understand how humans can function as highly as possible,” Brown elaborated.
Thriving had been examined at different stages of human life and had been described as vitality, learning, mental toughness, focus, or combinations of these and other qualities. In addition, it had been examined in different situations, including in the military, in health, and in child development.
He said that part of the reason for a lack of consensus is that the research so far has been narrowly focused.
“Some have studied what makes babies thrive, others have examined what makes some employees thrive and others not, and so on. By setting out a clear definition, I hope this helps set a course for future research,” Brown said.
The study, published in European Psychologist, included six recommendations for future research, such as the need for close examination of what enables thriving, and whether thriving has any lasting or cumulative effect on individuals.
Although many studies had discovered what promotes creative cognition and had proven the benefits of music to cognition, there is not much research on how listening to music affects creative cognition specifically. (Related: Music Shown to Facilitate the Development of Neurons in the Brain.)
The authors examined the effect of music on creative cognition on 155 participants who completed questionnaires and were split into experimental groups. Each group listened to one of four different types of music that were categorized as calm, happy, sad, or anxious, depending on their emotional valence and arousal. On the other hand, one controlled group listened to silence.
After the music played, the participants did various cognitive tasks that tested their divergent and convergent creative thinking.
The study, published in PLOS ONE, found that listening to happy music facilitated more divergent creative thinking compared to silence. Happy music was described as classical music that is positive valence and high in arousal.
The researchers suggested that the variables involved in the happy music condition may enhance flexibility in thinking and future research could explore how different ambient sounds might affect creativity and include participants of different cultures, ages, and levels of music experience.
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