How Music Empowers Us
It's Friday night. Bryan Adams is performing in an open-air pavilion in Houston. I'm surrounded with friends, the crowd is uplifting, the white wine is refreshing. Even though it's only April, the night air feels pleasantly warm.
The doubts I had about this evening fade away when Bryan Adams opens the show. I remember all the words to most of the songs...! They come out effortlessly, as if it was only yesterday that I last danced to these tunes at a school dance. But it isn't. It's at least 2 decades ago.
Memories come back. While I smile, dance and sing along, I feel connected to my friends, right here and now. They feel the same as I do! We didn't know each other back then, but we share similar memories.
I'm enjoying the nostalgia, as well as the present moment, as we sing the warm spring night away.
What I experienced last week is ‘in tune’ with research findings, showing us that music impacts our emotional state, it enhances our mood, and it increases feelings of social bonding.
This evening also illustrates how music can serve as a powerful trigger or anchor, to a memory. In this example ‘The Summer of ‘69’ triggered the memory of a school dance and the associated emotion of joy.
When it comes to our wellbeing, music can assist us in many areas of life. This is how music makes us healthier, happier and more successful:
Healthier – Music reduces stress hormones in our bodies and boosts your immune system.
Happier – Music can help us relax and reduce anxiety. It can also induce positive emotions and reduce depression. Last but not least, music supports social bonding, which increases our social satisfaction.
Successful – Music can be an ‘exceptional, unique, and powerful tool for personal and professional growth’. Check out Freddie Ravel. He is raising human potential through music. Inspiring, isn’t it?
Also, do you remember how experiencing positive emotions causes us to be more successful (See blog 2 of 3 - The Power Of Our Brain)?
We now know some of the many ways in which music might contribute to our wellbeing. Imagine the many possibilities this knowledge offers us…!
How about these suggestions…? I’m willing to try them all. Are you in?
1. Feeling tense after a busy day? Feeling nervous about that important meeting tomorrow?
Tip: Listen to music to wind down. Choose something calm and soothing. Let the tunes do their ‘thing’, relax and feel the stress
exit your body.
2. Want to feel more confident for a job interview, a presentation at work, or a performance appraisal?
Tip: use music as an anchor to trigger the powerful state of feeling confident. This is how it works:
Select a song you want to associate with feeling confident.
Go back in time and remember a moment you were feeling confident. Step into that moment as if it is happening right now. Notice what you see, hear, feel…
When you experience that ‘confidence’ fully and completely (say a 9 out of 10), turn on the music you selected, or sing, hum, whistle the tune, either out loud or in your head.
Practice and repeat.
You wish to enter the emotional state of feeling confident the following day. That’s when you listen to the song on your iPod, or sing, hum, whistle the tune.
By the way, you can use this method to enter any emotional state you wish (e.g. creative, relaxed, energetic).
3. Looking for teambuilding activities to enhance social relations with colleagues?
4. Feeling nostalgic and want to retrieve memories from the Good Ol' Days?
Tip: Listening to music from back then is bound to support you in this quest.
In what ways would you like to start benefitting from music in your life today?
Just suppose…you’re the DJ and you’re in charge of the music. What kind of tunes would YOU play to take control over your wellbeing?
Please feel free to share your ideas, suggestions, and experiences by leaving a comment.