Music makes it better

Music. Like coffee, I can’t live without it.

And it’s not just me. Fascinated by the way the right music will soothe me when I’m broken and picks me up when I’m feeling hopeless – I started reading up on the subject.

(for me) There’s nothing quite like “The Fray” when I need a good cry. And let’s face it sometimes you need a good cry. Nirvana, Bush and all my favourite old 90’s Grunge when I want to reminisce (and am feeling the angst). To this day I listen to Rage against the machine when I’m pissed off (especially if it’s with someone at the office).

All of this music taps into something that I’m feeling and helps to make it tangible, controllable, even. It puts the power of how I’m feeling into my hands.

But there is more to music than just reflecting how you’re feeling in the moment.

Music for Healing

According to the Harvard Health Publications,  music is an important part stress reduction and the treatment of depression. No surprises there, right?

Listening to uplifting music does just what it says on the box. It lifts you up. So much so that it can actually speed up your physical healing and reduce pain. Talk about groovy, baby.

Music for Memory

Another really interesting thing I discovered recently is that playing a musical instrument can slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and old-aged dementia/forgetfulness.

My Ouma (grandmother) had Alzheimer’s, and my entire family has lived in fear of what will happen to us (and our mom and aunts) when we get older. Luckily my mother and her three sisters all play musical instruments. Turns out that your musical memory never really fades, and that if you pick up an instrument even after years without playing, and you give it aa bit of practice, you can get right back to where you were before, and playing music will help you hold onto your marbles! Yay!

Make my Day  foolproof Music Make Better Recipe

So, what to listen to?

Well, obviously we all have different musical tastes. I love music from a huge range of genres, myself. So we won’t all want to listen to the same thing. But we do all have similar emotional ranges, and that is what you can use to craft your DYI music therapy. (please note this is not a substitution for real therapy)

I have a three step program that works for me. It goes like this:

Music for Sadness 

  1. Sad music. Stuff that lets me get it all out. feel free to cry. Best listened to in the car while driving (I find).
  2. From here I start to feed in gentle, less sad tunes.
  3. Mild happy music, hopeful tunes that make me feel brave.

Music for Angry moments

  1. Rage against the machine, Skunk Anansie (or similar)
  2. Upbeat but not ridiculously over happy music (old school punk works here)
  3. Regular happy vibes stuff ( A good opportunity for the happy grunge of the 90s).

Music for Long Hours

(I work looooooong hours at a PC. Without music I would DIE of boredom and never get any work done)

  1. Chillstep / dubstep – minimal words, good for long hours
  2. feel good indie music
  3. make use of 8tracks

Music for Exercise

listening to energetic music while you exercise will make working out a thousand million times easier. promise.

  1. upbeat, cheesy happy energy music
  2. all the upbeat remixes
  3. Power tunes

Music for Depression

  1. 90’s alternative rock/grunge – you may have exactly half an hour (or less)
  2. Happy music. Whatever lifts your spirits.
  3. DO NOT give in to the temptation to listen to depro stuff for extended periods of time. A song or two for the sake of giving in to your inner sulky child – sure. But it will only make you sick and sad in the long run.
  4. Pop Music. Yup, I said it. If you’re too depressed to find a happy song put the damn radio on and let yourself go. It’s okay. We won’t judge.

Music for RANDOM

  1. Give in to your musical whims.
  2. Look up old school stuff like this.
  3. Don’t allow yourself to be put into a music box – you can listen to whatever the hell makes you feel good.

Music Every Day

In my house, we have a little thing that we do pretty often. In the afternoons (evenings) after work, My daughter brings out her collection of happy pop songs and she puts them on. Then – we dance. We dance like silly moronic divas. We dance in our socks. We check ourselves out in the mirror. We use wooden spoons/brooms/whatever as microphones. We play air guitar. We get down.  This is something that doesn’t happen every day. It’s a spontaneous type thing, usually. But we do it, together, me and the kids. It works as exercise, and it makes us feel silly all together which makes us closer. It lifts the tired, end of the day blues and reduces stress and minimises family arguments.

That’s not why we do it though – we do it because it’s fun.

So go – get your groove on.

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