Need a Boost? Turn Up the Music

 In Better Life

I’m driving in my car on my way to an appointment. I’m in a bit of a funk. The day is gray and so is my mood. It taints my thoughts with discouragement; about the day, my work, my life, the world in general. I decide to turn on the radio.

A few minutes later, I hear the familiar beat and notes from the beginning of one of my favorite songs. Instantly, something in me shifts. I feel a new sense of hope and determination as Kelly Clarkson belts out, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Stand a little taller.” Pretty soon I’m singing along; loudly. Even though this song is about a relationship, I’ve always felt it can apply to anything in life.

I grew up singing along with my dad (and sometimes my mom) in the car. My dad never seemed to run out of songs he knew. Many were Elvis, country, and old-time rock and roll. I remember seeing the goosebumps on his arms as he would feel the emotion of the song such as Elvis’ “My Way.” And now, the end is here, and so I face the final curtain. Or get into the rhythm of I fell into a burning ring of fire. I went down, down, down and the flames went higher. by Johnny Cash. Music united us and strengthened our family bond.

But it wasn’t until I studied Positive Psychology that I began to realize the power of music and how we can use it to boost our mood. 

As Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury, a psychiatric counselor points out, “Music reduces pain and brings us closer to ourselves. It is one of the best remedies for beating stress and loneliness, and also gives us the strength to face and express the strong emotions that guide most of our actions. (It) can bring desired changes in terms of cardiac functioning, blood pressure levels, and overall body functions.”

 “Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a little while.” – Elton John

Here’s a simple tool we can use almost anywhere! We can have a playlist that energizes us, one that calms us down, and one that helps us feel heart-centered. We can listen (and sing) while we’re driving, cooking, cleaning, etc. We can even have some background music on while we work.

Make a plan. How are you going to use music this week?

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