I caught the second half of a song I had completely forgotten about the other day and was so excited to be reminded of it that I actually downloaded it. It’s playing in my head as I write and making me feel very jolly.
It brought me to realise that music can have an amazing ability to affect our mood and that I ought use it more often when I’m struggling to get into the right frame of mind. I’m probably preaching to the converted for many of you who are permanently plugged in to your headphones, but even then, it’s important to find the appropriate soundtrack for the task at hand. If you’re going for final uphill push on a run (or so I’m told!), you choose a track that will spur you on. If you’re struggling to relax, it’s a different kind of choice. There’s a wealth of research showing that music can affect our stress levels, memory and even experience of pain so we should be using it more proactively in our day-to-day lives.
And it doesn’t matter what sort of music you like. It may take Beethoven’s Ode to Joy or perhaps it’s DMX’s X Gon’ Give It To Ya but music to pump you up will have an immediate effect, give you confidence and, most importantly, make you enjoy whatever scary activity you are about to undertake. Conversely, relaxing music - from Schubert’s Trout Quintet to Dido’s White Flag - will reduce your heartrate and help slow down the thoughts whirring around your head. Music is a hugely personal choice and no doubt you can all make better suggestions than mine but that’s half the thing. Get two or more people round a playlist and you’ve started a passionate discussion, with people scrolling through their phone or finding tracks on YouTube to prove their musical point.
Whilst we’ve got a bit of time over the Christmas break, I recommend that you get onto Spotify, iTunes, or wherever you get your music and create some playlists. Don’t forget to go through those old hard copy albums gathering dust somewhere either - when did you last listen to them? Meanwhile have a look at the picture above; the first person to tell me what song (currently being played quite a bit) it illustrates gets an Amazon voucher!