Poppy music sends me into a rage. Raging music makes me happy.
Why is that? And why does music have such a profound effect on our brains?
Just this week, a Harvard study, published in Science, found that music is indeed a universal language to all humans and:
“Music does appear to be tied to specific perceptual, cognitive, and affective faculties, including language (all societies put words to their songs), motor control (people in all societies dance), auditory analysis (all musical systems have signatures of tonality), and aesthetics (their melodies and rhythms are balanced between monotony and chaos).”
It makes sense that there’s an entire field of therapy devoted to using music to shape mood.
I can’t tell you which songs will cure your anxiety, although some claim to know. But I can tell you that, just like everything I’ve written about this month, whatever reliably takes you “out of your own head” is a good (at least temporary) cure for anxiety.
If I have a long car ride ahead of me, I know I can sit next to my anxiety for the whole trip, or I can put on an album from my era of influence and disappear into it for the next hour. When I arrive, I can’t even remember the ride, just the songs.
I like to think that podcasts and audiobooks do the same thing, but they rarely do. They’re not a reliably good story in the way that music is.
Play an instrument? Even better. But let’s stick to what’s immediate and practical for most people: just make music more a part of your life.
This is part of a 30-day challenge to blog about anxiety. See all the posts.