Having a bad day? I bet I can help.
In many different ways, music is a wonderful thing. It helps us remember things we never thought we could think about again. It reconnects a part of us we thought we said goodbye to. Like hearing the Barney soundtrack after ten years and reminiscing what it was like to be 4 and in love with a big purple dinosaur.
The effects that music has on the mind is unique to humans. If you play Old Town Road for your dog, he's not going to stand on his hind legs and dance along with you. Music can act as many things, including a mood stabilizer.
Music and The Brain
We all have listened to music, even when we were a baby. Maybe you were on a drive when you were one month old, you heard a song and you began to shift in your seat. Or you heard a sad/slow song and you started to drift off...
Music makes a deep connection to the brain. While doing so it begins to control our emotions, mood. When we listen to a happy or peaceful song, our brain replays happy memories, fueling our happiness, therefore making us breathe faster, which, according to science, is a physical side effect of happiness.
When we listen to sad or even sometimes angry songs, the memories that relate to these emotions are replayed. But the above emotions cause more health-related physical reactions such as low blood pressure and a reduced heart rate.
In some situations, music can be used as a type of treatment, because, as I mentioned before, music can make a deep connection in the brain; it has been known to ease the pain. If someone in your family has fibromyalgia, play them their favourite song. When music like this is played, it stimulates the body's natural pain relievers, opioids. It's like, music is the new medicine, literally.
This kind of treatment is also used when people's immune systems are weak after surgery. Or patients with complications revolving the heart, the music treatment is operated to reduce heart rate and blood pressure within patients. Depression symptoms too. I can go on and on about the powerful influence music can have.
How Music can Have that Effect on the Brain
We have about 86 billion neurons throughout our brains, all connected together. Each singular neuron has 10,000 connections. Circuits are the path between all the billions of neurons that it follows, the electrical activity that guides it.
There are several specific circuits that control the pleasure we receive from music or good food. They are called the frontostriatal circuits.
Once the chemical dopamine is released, linking that circuit, this chemical fuels us with motivation and happiness. Dopamine is considered in a scientific term, a neurotransmitter. It's a reward-processing chemical, only activated when we eat good food or listen to emotionally-tied-music.
You can even receive a rush of dopamine when your favourite part of a song is coming up, so you start to become anticipated and your brain provokes dopamine as a reaction.
In this list, I have a variety of songs ranging from artist to genre-based on different tastes. Most of them are old, but according to some, that just means the songs are better! Don't expect results the moment you press play, be patient. I hope you can enjoy these songs as I do!
1. Clair de Lune by Debussy
A simple classical song like this one has a very interchangeable reaction from the brain. All of our brains have separate distinctive responses to songs depending on previous experiences. According to one of my references, more people had the same responses with classical music than with more complicated pop songs like Senorita by Shawn Mendes. My guess is that since classical songs are more simple and precise, our brains don't all link it to a specific place or event, therefore easily triggering the same thoughts and opinions.
2. Adagio for strings by Samuel Barber
3. Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Minor by Beethoven
4. Good Vibrations by Beach Boys
5. Girls Just Wanna Have fun by Cyndi Lauper
6. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
7. Livin On a Prayer by Bon Jovi
8. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
9. Dancing Queen by Abba
10. First Breath After Coma by Explosions in the Sky
Musicians and Their Brain
The people who write these incredible songs are more likely to have healthier, more sensitive brains. Playing music has more positive impacts than just listening to it. It can improve your memory and learning.
Compared to someone who has no musical contact, musicians have more wholesome brains, permitting them to accomplish more. Creating music is a wonderful hobby with many rewards. In other words, the more invested into music you are, the better.
The Level of Effectiveness
These songs would be more effective on people who heard these specific songs in their childhood, but the people who have not still have an outcome. Most of these songs I've never heard of until a couple of days ago when I began to write this article, and when I played them, I was automatically motivated and joyful. More often than not, these kinds of songs are linked with soothing memories, another way to dissect dopamine from these songs. If they were linked to good memories, play some of these songs (try no. 6) for your parents and I bet you $20 that they will begin to sing along and consequently be in a better mood.
Tips and Tricks
What I suggest is creating a playlist of these songs and some of your favourites and listen to them when need be.
Play these songs from any of your music listening platforms. Youtube, Spotify, Itunes.
But don't listen to these songs too often, as you know, when you listen to your favourite song over and over again, you get sick of it, it's the same with the list of songs I am providing you with. Space your listening out, the more you listen, the more the effects will lessen.