Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Music is cheaper than drugs and safer than romance
Music is healthy
So, we are all trying to save a little money, stay a little sane, and stay healthy. Right? This article tells how the sound of our favorite song retunes our bodies to feeling good.
These are not theories of a music lover. Scientists can measure the "feel-good" feelings. (keeping this rated PG)
For many years I have listened to songs of the 50s and 60s and noticed that there is an extra bounce to my step, a little zing in the brain, and heightened awareness of my body and my surroundings. Yes, it felt like 16 again. Right now, oldies are songs from the 80s, so I must be ancient.
It may not be possible, but it is almost like I can feel the level of hormones in my body rise. Silly? Maybe not.
Songs remind me of certain times of pleasure. Copacabana reminds me of 1978-79 and riding in the car. My three children and I sang to the tops of our voices. The radio was loud. Good memories. Puff the Magic Dragon from 1963 brings back memories of my son singing it in 1972 when he was four and my daughter was two. Oh, we all sang it, but his voice was sweet.
You can guess the strength I drew from I Will Survive right after my divorce. Music Box Dancer was a song to which my two-year-old (third child) performed an impromptu ballet in an arboretum in Florida. I can still see her in her pink satin shorts and jacket worn over a little tank top, unselfconsciously twirling and doing many a plie and port de bras, counting in French if you wished. (Satin was good in 1977...lol.
The Wayward Wind was a song I heard many a night in the summer, a summer like all of my childhood summers--lacking air conditioning. The Blue Danube or any waltz transports me to a peacefulness that is indescribable.
Most music moves me to feelings that can be described as a peaceful ecstasy. Is that dopamine I feel? (okay, no rap) Scientists "say a best-loved aria or guitar riff can trigger the same chemical reaction in us as good food, money or sex." It sounds as if music could be a cheap and safe cure-all. Well, maybe I should listen to music instead of eating. Okay, I have good food, so one out of three ain't bad. Right?
Even when songs do not remind me of a specific setting or people, music evokes feelings of pleasure. Music is one great pleasure in my life. Alas, I cannot sing or play an instrument. So sad. However, I do love a good musical in any form--live theater, movies, amateurs or professional performers.
When the little dancer was almost two, she saw a commercial for Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol. A little doll with a billowy skirt was moving across the black background on the TV screen, while a tinkly, music box tune played. The hidden man said in soothing tones, "Diarrhea, blah, blah, diarrhea." My daughter sat rapt, and then turned and said in her little baby voice that could articulate the words perfectly, "I want diarrhea."
We laughed at the ludicrous idea that anyone wanted diarrhea. She raised her voice, "I do want diarrhea." We howled and I tried to comfort her because everyone laughed. She wailed, "I waaaant diiiiarheeea!" It was the kind of things that had us all howling. I tried, I really tried, I cried, hid my face from her so she would not see my tears rolling down my face.
This went on for months as she saw the commercial. She never failed to express her desire in the same three words, "I want diarrhea." Our response was always the same but tempered. At other times she just wanted me to get diarrhea for her. No amount of explaining worked. Yes, the children explained it graphically to her. She did not flinch. I explained it to her in terms someone so young could understand...like, "running down your leg." The visual and music kept her desire strong until finally the commercial ran its course and was no more.
Could it be that we could save money, lose stress, and attain a "peace with zing" that we crave by listening to more music? Maybe we assail our senses with new purchases just to feel something pleasurable? Of course, we do. That is what marketing tries to do, "manipulate hedonic states" (pleasure) to us through purchasing. Music helps marketing. Maybe we can listen to music to help us avoid purchasing.
I will listen to more pleasurable music. Rod Stewart, here I come. If I can lose weight, spend even less, I will have accomplished two goals. Since I have never done recreational drugs, I have no goals there. Romance department? What? Where? LOL I will put on music tomorrow and work or play to sounds that make me happier inside and out.
Do you think that you could possibly curb spending, lose weight, or reach another goal by listening to music? Maybe it would have to be purposeful listening, not just listening to whatever someone else leaves on the radio or whichever CD is ready to go. Do you think putting on music from your youth or a happy period would help you become peaceful enough to curb your appetites? Maybe it is a certain genre you need from just any period of your life. If you like country and no one in the house listens to country, maybe you need a good country fix. How about it? What do you think? Even if you are like me and cannot sing, sing anyway if no one else is around. Let's get our pleasure from music. Can we save money along with our sanity with music?