By: Justin Lee
Macklemore once said, “Music is therapy. Music moves people. It connects people in ways that no other medium can. It pulls heartstrings. It acts as medicine.” Did you get up early? Are you stuck in traffic while driving to work? Do you find it hard to understand what you are feeling at the moment? Having a bad day is never anyone’s favorite thing. Why don’t you slip a pair of earphones into your ears and step back from day-to-day reality and enjoy your secret world while on your way to your destination? Music gives excitement and energy to our everyday events, whether it’s commuting to school or prepping up in the morning. It’s always better to have something playing in the background that we can sing into.
Skimming through your Spotify playlist is a great way to start the morning and can dictate the rest of your day. A study shows that music activates a part of your brain called the nucleus accumbens. This triggers the release of dopamine, a “pleasure chemical” that lives in a group of neurons in your brain called the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA): This pathway in the brain is called the Reward System and Dopamine is strongly associated with it. Dopamine is the same chemical that gets released when you eat your favorite food or when you get a new follower on Twitter.
Music can heighten our daily experiences and alter our emotional states, to enhance and inspire our present moment. It does not come to a surprise that music also affects our mood. Specific genres can have a direct impact on your mood and diverse styles of music influence your feelings or thoughts in different ways. Studies have shown that music can elevate your mood and cure depression. It can also improve blood flow in ways similar to statins, lower your levels of stress related hormones like cortisol and ease pain. Listening to music before an operation can even improve post-surgery outcomes. When we dance to the beat of happy music, our brains usually produce chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which make us feel joyful. The same as listening to party music such as EDM (Electronic Dance Music), we get pumped up. It is also a perfect pick to listen to when you need a sonic motivation to go to the gym for a workout. A mellow or country music is a good pair on long road trips to reminisce good memories from the past. It gives us warm, nostalgic feelings yet it calms us down. Music is also a form of therapy that helps combat depression and ease anxiety and improve functioning in individuals.
We can also relate to some songs through its lyrics. Just like Eminem’s ‘Beautiful’ where he talks about his life saying that he would love to swap it with a normal life like yours. He wants all people to see what his life is really like being followed around and criticized. But even though we trade lives, he says we all got problems anyway and no matter how much the world will pull you down, you have to remember how special and beautiful you are in your way.
Music is a medicine that you can’t overdose on. You can easily find out who someone is by just looking through their music list. People tend to listen to music that they can relate to. They listen to music that they know will comfort them when they need it. There are over a billion and one songs out there so you’re bound to find one you can relate to. If you can’t find a song that you can relate to, you can probably find one to cheer you up and make you happy. Music just makes everything better.