I spent a great majority of my adolescence engrossed by music. It was my personal escape and constant companion. Whenever I was overwhelmed I could always find reprieve by listening to music. I can’t say I grew up with a thoughtful sense of music (my teenage genre of choice was lovingly referred to as bubble gum pop and mostly driven by my hormones)… but regardless of genre I’ve always been mesmerized by it. Music is such a unique medium. It can change your mood, create/enhance a memory, evoke emotion, it also transcends and defines generations. Like a good book, when you hear a song that moves you, you are compelled to share it with those around you, it becomes a part of you (even if only for a few moments).
I also love how incredible the power music has over our behaviour. For example, I recently changed the playlist in my car. I never paid much attention to what was playing in the background on my commute to and from work. But a recent insight from my psychologist suggested that the drive alone may be putting me in a negative frame of mind when I got home to my family. So at her suggestion, I paid attention to how many times I got irritated by other drivers and my emotional state when I got home. I was practically furious that day after my 40 minute drive home. Not surprising, it took me at least that long to “shake it off” once I got in the door. Day 2 of this experiment, I made a conscious effort to play happy music. Guess what? I was no longer irritated by other aggressive drivers (or I ignored them more easily). I sang along to the music and my drive was exponentially shorter, easier and less stressful. One simple thing completely changed my attitude and corresponding behaviour.
My children have recently started to develop their own enjoyment of music. I’m fascinated by their individual responses to different types of music and how it compliments their personalities. Obviously, at ages 4 and 2 they are connecting to the soundtrack of almost any animated movie. But that’s irrelevant, what I love most about it is watching their demeanor and behaviour instantly change when a song they enjoy comes on. Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is currently one of their favorites right now, mine too if I’m honest. You cannot help but tap your toes to the beat. They both jump up when it comes on and start dancing around. There is no better incentive to let go of inhibitions and let my silly take control, when my daughter pulls me off the couch saying “come on, dance mommy”. We’ve had a lot of family dance parties lately, and I’m soaking up every minute of them.
I’m no expert, and I expect there is obvious science to all of this but what an amazing way to release and recharge. Tough day at the office, kids/spouse getting on your nerves, I dare you to turn on any up-tempo song and tell me you don’t feel even a tiny bit better. The point is don’t waste time wallowing in a bad mood unnecessarily. What is that accomplishing? Turn on your “happy song” and immerse yourself in it. What’s the worst that could happen?