The effect different genres of music can have on your mind, body, and community.

Sen. Ted Cruz stopped listening to rock music after 9/11. True story.

"On 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded," he said on "CBS This Morning." "And country music, collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me."


Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Fair enough. The senator didn't elaborate on which country acts in particular resonated with him following the attack, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that for just about 15 years, he's sworn off rock music. And while it's not hurting the industry or the artists, it's not doing Sen. Cruz any favors either.

When we only listen to one type of music or swear off a genre entirely, we miss out.

Every genre has its benefits, and we can make the most of them by mixing up our playlists every once in awhile. Not only does it allow us to encounter new favorites, but our physical and psychological health and well-being may be positively affected too.

Let's break it down shall we?

The queen of breaking it down, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

A really good reason to listen to jazz: It may relax you from the brain down.

Downtempo music (around 60 beats per minute in this case) can cause the brain to synch up with the beat and create alpha brain waves. These waves are often present when we're awake, but relaxed. Listening to smooth jazz, especially combined with nature sounds like waterfalls or thunder, can be especially soothing.

Where to start: The very helpful website Jazz and Rain, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Najee performs during the Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival. Photo by Mychal Watts/Getty Images for Jazz in the Gardens.

A really good reason to listen to metal: It may be good for your sense of self.

A study released last year determined people who identified as heavy metal fans in their youth grew up to have a strong sense of identity, a knack for community development, and were less likely to live with regrets. Rock on!

Where to start: System of a Down has an unconventional spin on traditional heavy metal, which is probably why their single, "Chop Suey," made a splash on mainstream radio in the early 2000s.

Photo by Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images.

A really good reason to listen to classical music: It may deter or prevent crime.

In 2003, city staff in London began playing classical music recordings in few dozen train stations. 18 months later, vandalism was down 37%, robberies fell around 33%, and assaults on staff were down 25%. Stateside, Minneapolis and Portland have both tested the idea of playing classical music at light rail stations to deter crime.

The experts have a few theories as to why it works. The music may be so relaxing and calming, that criminals just say, "Pass." Or the correlation may have something to do with the fact that the stops seem to be cared for or looked after. There's more of a feeling of community, and you're less likely to do something when you think someone's watching. Even if that someone is a speaker blaring Vivaldi.

Where to start: New to classical music? Give Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" a listen.

The train stations use speakers and recordings instead of live performances, but good music is good music. Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images.

A really good reason to listen to rap: It may help in the fight against depression.

Lots of rap and hip-hop songs tell the story of a person beating the odds or overcoming obstacles. According to researchers at Cambridge University, these upwardly mobile narratives may be a helpful tool for people experiencing depression or other mental health issues. These positive visual images can help people envision the mental place they'd like to be and allows them to facilitate progress toward that goal.

Where to start: The original "started from the bottom now we're here" is Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy." And, of course, the most recent iteration: Drake's "Started From the Bottom."

Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images.

A really good reason to listen to pop music: It may give you an extra boost of endurance during your workout.

During a challenging or especially tiring aerobic effort (in this case, treadmill-walking), a 2009 study revealed that listening to rock or pop hits can improve endurance and possibly enhance physical performance. The hits may actually distract you while you're working, allowing you to go the extra mile ... literally.

Where to start: You can't spell pop without ABBA. Well, you can, but why on Earth would you want to?


ABBA killing the boot game while performing one of their many hits. Photo by Olle Lindeborg/AFP/Getty Images.

A really good reason to listen to country music: It might bring you joy.

Well, maybe not you specifically (yet, anyway), but it does for plenty of people. And while there doesn't seem to have been any specific studies on the health or wellness benefits of country music, there are two great reasons to give it a try: 1. Loretta Lynn and 2. Johnny Cash. They're all the reason you need.

Where to start: Loretta Lynn's 2004 album, "Van Lear Rose," is great baby step into her iconic catalog. Same goes for Cash's "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music.

So next time you turn on some music, don't be afraid to try something new.

Whether it's a genre you swore off years ago in the wake of a tragedy or just something you've never quite understood, it may be worth taking a second look. Your summer jams playlist (and maybe your mind, body, and community) will thank you.

Family
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular