Music for Deep Thinking and Decision-Making

Listening to suitable music can be really beneficial when thinking creatively, brainstorming, thinking critically and making decisions. But it has to be suitable music, and to an extent this varies according to personal taste.

The crucial things are that the music leads us to a heightened state of awareness and concentration, and that we feel positive and full of agency and imaginative capacity when listening to it. Instrumental music (with no singing) is often beneficial for meditation, or deep thinking, when we can focus on a particular topic and address it in a clear and calm emotional state.

Good examples of suitable genres are classical music, ambient music, minimalist music and combinations of those. Repetitive and drone-based music can sometimes seem boring in normal contexts, when they are usually utilised as background music rather than music to focus on, but when used for achieving an immersive experience or near-trance state these types of music can promote clarity of thought and increased imaginative powers.

Long pieces of music are especially beneficial, so that the mood is not frequently changed and you can focus on the task at hand for a longer period of time. If you prefer pieces that are relatively short (under ten minutes duration) then be sure to playlist them prior to using them as a decision-making aid so that you don’t need to interrupt your thoughts to put on the next track.

You can also use such pieces of music to completely forget about the decision you face. Another simple yet effective tool for clearing your mind of clutter and getting some perspective before addressing the task is to go for a walk and let your mind wander just as your body does. Combining this with some music that encourages a feeling of transcendence can be very useful as a way to ‘take a short holiday’ from your decision-making process before dealing with it once again with a refreshed mind when you get back home and take off your headphones.

The more you integrate suitable music into your decision-making process, the more you will see your decision-making skills improve as your attitude to embracing challenges becomes more and more positive and your imaginative state is heightened.