Music Playlist - April 12, 2022

Most of us enjoy listening to music whether it’s classical or alt rock, country or rap, and research shows that it’s all great for our brain! According to research at Johns Hopkins, “…listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.” These benefits are based on the music you like not the genre of music, so you don’t need to change your musical preferences. However, switching things up and listening to music that is new to you engages your brain and makes it work a little harder. 

When you’re looking for some new music to add to your playlist, pay attention to how you feel when listening. Focus on your body and the sensations that come up - your reaction to music can be drastically different from someone else’s reaction. Music that is relaxing and soothing to one person might be irritating to someone else, but keep experimenting with different genres. If you always listen to the same music you might miss out on a whole new genre of music that you love simply because you haven’t heard it yet!

Learning to play an instrument

If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, try learning to play an instrument. Playing an instrument stimulates the brain and improves your memory, attention, and your mood. It may be difficult at first, but the rewards are worth it! Plus, you don’t need to become an expert to reap the rewards. Taking a few lessons will benefit your brain, and who knows maybe you will love it and continue playing for years to come. 

Knowing that music can be so beneficial to our brain health makes it a great self-care tool. We can actively engage our brains with music in order to improve our mood by setting up a playlist for immediate access. I personally have a Feel Good Playlist on my phone that includes songs that remind me of fun times in the past with my kids; songs that I remember singing in my kitchen when I was kid; and newer songs that make me want to dance. Whenever I’m feeling a little down, I put my headphones on and turn on this playlist - it instantly brings a smile to my face. 

Try This

Do you have your own “Feel Good Playlist”? A list of songs that make you feel great is a self-care project that you can take anywhere.

Using an online music source like Spotify, YouTube Music, or Pandora, can help with this process. If you have a smart phone with access to music, then it will be all in your hand! 

  • Begin by listening to some of your favorite songs and taking note of how they make you feel: What memories come up? What sensations do you feel in your body? Are you smiling while you listen to the song? Does the song make you start dancing?
  • Next, try listening to songs that are from artists you don’t know or genres you haven’t heard before. Make note of how these songs make you feel.
  • Create a list of 8-10 songs that really make you feel good and put these songs on your phone (if you can) or on your computer. 
  • Listen to your playlist and adjust as necessary - remove songs that don’t really feel great and arrange the order of the songs as desired. 
  • Finally, listen to your Feel Good Playlist whenever you need a ‘pick-me-up’.

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