Research shows that music can bring positive changes to one’s brain, heart and overall health by helping to lower one’s blood pressure, increase one’s state of consciousness, change one’s mood from negative to positive, and decrease one’s overall levels of stress. In addition to affecting one’s varying medical states, all genres of music have also been able to connect people in different social settings, in romantic relationships, and so on. Just think about it, when you are driving in the car and a song you like comes on the radio, what is the first thing that you do? Crank it up and belt it out, right? And if your car is full of friends who also like the song, then you have now turned your vehicle into an all-out dance party. What about when you were in high school and at a school dance? What did every single girl do when a classic Madonna song game on? Gathered into one large group in the middle of the dance floor and jumped around like crazy people, singing every word, right? Now, think back to a time when you were sad or in a bad place…did you turn to music? Or if you were at the gym and dying through a killer workout, what happened when a song you loved finally came through your earphones? Your attitude probably changed and you were able to extend your cardio session for a few additional minutes in order to finish out the song.
The effects of music are profound. Whether you use it to boost your mood, help you study, burn some calories, or write a blog, you should incorporate it as often as you can. Let’s take the gym for instance. If it’s been a long day and you have no desire to get your workout in – instead of skipping the workout, put together a playlist of the most up-beat songs in your iTunes account and get to work. Each time the songs change you will find a hidden treasure chest of energy that will power you through your workout. Try it and see for yourself. Label your playlists different things to help you accomplish different types of workouts. For instance, if you despise running but know you can get through the pain when a Justin Bieber song comes on, then add some of his music to your “Cardio” playlist. Then couple that song with others that you enjoy. And before you know it, you have a 30-40 minute playlist that helps to ease the pain of running somewhat. Now you’re sweaty AND happy because you accomplished your goal. If you’ll be weightlifting for the day, create a playlist with music that is a little harder, edgier, and listen to that as you grunt your way through your final rep. Or if you feel like doing yoga, tone down the music based on what type of yoga you will be practicing. If it’s of the meditative state, find some songs that are lower key, more melodic, like Enya perhaps. Then label that playlist “Yoga” as your go to list of choice. All genres of music are acceptable so feel free to play around a little, ask your friends what is on their iPods or google “music playlists” and see what new songs you can listen to and enjoy.
Make a place for music in your daily existence. Find new artists, try new genres. Have fun with it – let it bring joy to your life. Then share it with others. Have your kiddos listen with you and have an all-out dance party in your living room in the middle of the afternoon. Or ask your parents what’s on their iPods and learn about a generation of music you may never have given a second thought to. And if you feel like having a good cry, get in your car, go for a drive, and turn up the beat. By the time you let it all out you’ll feel better and most likely be in a better emotional state. Just remember that music can help to keep your brain healthy, it can help make you happier, and it can help keep you sane so make sure to incorporate it into you life – and if you want to sing along, have at it and hold onto that smile as you let the rhythm infect your soul.