‘Music is the strongest form of magic’. So said Marilyn Monroe… and she was right. Music can transform, inspire and uplift. When we listen to music our brain releases dopmaine, which is the chemical essential for the healthy functioning of the central nervous system. Dopamaine has effects on emotion, perception and movement. Let’s look at 3 ways music can heal you and how you can create a perfect playlist – that makes you feel more in tune with the world.
Be Mindful Of Mood
First, you need to consider your own personal preferences – of course. The psychology of musical taste is complicated – it depends on your age, personality, and experience. And your perfect playlist will depend on the atmosphere or mood you plan to conjure. As well as the reason you want to create it.
Music Can Heal The Soul
Do you want to feel motivated, at peace – or hopeful for example? How do you feel now – and what do you want to change about that? Your list could, of course, include music that creates a combination of moods – or takes you on a journey. Throughout the day.
‘Music lifts mood, reduces anxiety, raises motivation and helps combat insomnia and depression. A recent study by Stanford University shows that depressed patients gain self-esteem and their mood improves after music therapy.‘– Louise Jensen for Mind Body Green
On those lines – let’s look at a playlist for travelling. It could begin with a calm and soothing song – to ease you in as you set off. Something like “Weightless”, by Marconi Union, would work – this was actually produced in collaboration with sound therapists. And its carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms,and bass lines keep your heart rate steady, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Then build up the tempo throughout your journey, particularly if you want to arrive feeling energised. A bit of James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’ is impossible to listen to without feeling upbeat, for example.
On the way back, particularly at the end of a day, you can reverse this – and slowly wind the music back down..
Be Inspired By Memories
There are lots of sites available online that create instant themed music playlists for you. That’s really useful of course, but sometimes it’s great to discover things all by yourself. Or just take your tastes in different directions. Get nostalgic and create playlists that conjure up memories of happy times, this can instantly lift your mood. Nostalgic playlists can also be a great way to lift the mood of an elderly family member or a friend that might be in hospital or in need of a happy boost.
‘Music can trigger associated memories transporting you back to special occasions and happy times.’
If you usually download or stream your music, why not try digging out your old CDs for a change. Or buy new ones – CD manufacturing is still happening! Burn tracks and use them to make your very own playlist – maybe put aside an afternoon to find some real favourites, get retro and create your own jazzy CD cover like back in high school.
Be Moved By Words
Song lyrics, like poetry can be just as inspiring as a beautiful or upbeat tune. The words of great lyricists can be very reassuring, in a world that’s constantly in flux. Or where you face challenges. Sometimes trigger words like ‘strong’ or ‘respect’ in songs make you feel powerful and motivated. On other days, more deeply felt personal or political messages can move us to tears. Whether they’re about triumph over adversity – or as simple as an assurance that it’s still ‘A Wonderful World’. It’s all about what speaks to you, why…and that moment. Music can be a powerful healing tool, from sound healing gong baths to just sticking on your favourite track and bopping around your living room on an otherwise gloomy day!
This post has just touched the surface of how music can lift and transform you. But we hope it’s given you something interesting to reflect on. When you get your own inspirational playlist pitch perfect, you’ll know in your heart that it hits all the right notes.