You’re in a café waiting for the meal to come. The clock ticks, your stomach growls, it’s time to eat. Bored, you check your email - nothing. Thoughts creep in about the terrible morning you had. Then, all of a sudden your favorite song beings to play. You look up; it feels like a gift from God. It’s your song, your baby. As the music plays, a flood of memories and emotions come to life. For the next three minutes you’ve forgotten all about your hunger, your parking ticket, and that fight with your co-worker.
Music is a powerful force, but like a spouse or lifelong friend, it’s easy to take for granted. After all, it has always been there; in every car, every restaurant, every celebration. Here are five impressive effects that music has – mind, body, and spirit - to remind us why we should be our own DJ (labeled with awesome song titles J).
1) “Africa Unite” (by Bob Marley)
Ever been in a pubic place when “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” comes on? You bet your britches everyone starts singing. Suddenly a room full of strangers - from all walks of life - are smiling, making eye contact, and expressing pure joy together. What would happen if all the world leaders were locked in a room together with “Seasons of Love” blaring on repeat?
2) “Time Machine” (by Ingrid Michaelson)
Music has the power to take us back in time. Most of us have songs that we could hear right now that would immediately transport us to high school. We’ll remember where we were, whom we were with, and the person we had a crush on. Things we haven’t thought about in decades can suddenly become so vivid. Crazy to imagine when just yesterday I couldn't remember where I parked my car...
3) “Spiritual” (by Donald Lawrence)
Humans have been praising their God(s) with music and hymns since the beginning of time. For countless religions, it’s an integral part of worship. Many feel a spiritual connection through music, whether they create it themselves or enjoy it from the back of a room.
4) “Heal the World” (by Michael Jackson)
Sometimes music feels like the best medicine and that’s no exaggeration. Listening to music we enjoy causes our brain to release dopamine, a feel good neurotransmitter. It has an actual chemical effect on our brain. Bodies are so cool…
5) “Stronger” (by Brittany Spears)
People have been experiencing this for some time, but finally studies prove that listening to certain music increases activity during exercise. As we get tired during a workout, putting on the right music helps us focus on the beat instead of our fatigue. According to The New York Times, The U.S. Track and Field banned portable music in 2007 to prevent runners from having a competitive edge.
In “Closing Time” (by Semisonic)
I was once stopped at a stoplight with the windows down and someone pulled up beside me in the other lane, blaring pretty offensive music. I tried to ignore it, but of course this felt like the longest stoplight of my life. After a moment, I caught myself bobbing my head a little. I had started to consume his sound! This guy’s personality jumped from his convertible and into my car. In that moment I became the master of my own destiny. I turned on the CD player and cranked up my favorite song to drown his out. I got a raised eyebrow from him, the light turned green, and off I went.
There’s a power to owning our moments. How many times are we letting someone else’s music, message, or beliefs consume our own? It’s great to be open-minded and experience other ideas. It’s not great to lose ourselves in the mix and be in a room so loud we can’t hear ourselves speak. So turn your music up, loud and proud, and jam out to whatever it is that you love.
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