This blog is not a review of that well know musical, The Sound of Music, rather, it is to describe the importance of music on our mood and well-being. “Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I want to get lost in your rock-and-roll…” This line is from Mentor Williams and John Henry Kurtz from 1972, subsequently Dobie Gray’s biggest hit, and in 2003, Uncle Kracker‘s major hit song called “Drift Away“.
“Free my soul….” indeed. Music, according to scientific studies, serves as an antidepressant and produces a euphoric high that exceeds one from most antidepressants. Music stimulates different areas of the brain, including; the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and the parietal lobe. The hippocampus, among other brain components, brings about emotional responses. The parietal lobe is an area for information processing and cognition. Like the parietal lobe, the prefrontal cortex is an area for cognition and information processing, but it also manages extreme impulses and emotions.
It seems like common sense that upbeat music makes us happy. The science behind this tells us that the hormone for happiness, serotonin, is bountifully released through the expression of music. The neurotransmitter, dopamine, is also produced. As a result, it spreads throughout the body, as well as norepinephrine, another “feel good” chemical.
Think about playing your favorite song over and over again. There is a reason that we do this. Whatever it is about our favorite song that we like, as we repeatedly listen to it, it continues to release these chemicals, therefore becoming self-reinforcing, leading us to want to play it again. As the music impacts these areas of the brain, it can provide us with motivation, inspiration, reduce our stress, and change our perception. These changes impact our mood for hours and even days to come, through altering our brainwave activity.
After reading this blog, I challenge you to perform your own music/mood trial by playing some of your favorite songs…over and over. If some of these songs are sad songs, they may serve to assist in the grieving process of a loss, assisting you in processing through emotions. If they are energizing/motivating songs, experience what it is to enter into the uplifting mood that is created, and then, “free your soul…and drift away!”
Mr. David Wiley, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Rosario Counseling & Associates. He has practiced in a variety of behavioral health settings in the Triangle area of North Carolina since 1981, including innovative approaches to substance abuse and chronic pain management, crisis intervention, as well as working with relationship issues with couples and families.
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