I would imagine that we all have certain pieces of music that come to mean things to us – specific events they bring to mind, emotions they bring up or a particular time in our life. Sometimes we hear the music in a shop or on the radio and the memory is evoked, but sometimes we purposely put on a certain track to suit our mood. Perhaps a relaxing piece after a stressful day, or the classic post-breakup tear jerkers that somehow help us through difficult times.
Perhaps we should actually start making more use of this phenomenon? The British Association of Music Therapy certainly thinks so. Not only does music affect us personally, but it is part of identifying with our national heritage and culture making us feel part of a bigger picture. Music can help lift us, comfort us, relax us – it has even been used to help adolescents and young people cope better when faced with treatment for cancer, and it has been observed to have an effect on elderly people suffering from dementia.
Scans have even been done of peoples’ brains while they are listening to music which show the emotion and reward centres of the brain are stimulated by the process.
While I am not suggesting that sticking on a particular piece of music is going to cure all your ills, perhaps it is worth considering making more use of this gift in future? I’ve discussed in the past just how important it is to get a good night’s sleep – make a particular, soothing album part of your nightly ritual and you will soon find it easy to drop off to the first few bars as it starts.
Music can calm, de-stress, motivate or lift you. It has the power to bring back memories of a happy time, get you dancing around the room or soothe you. Such a powerful tool should not just be left to the province of radio-in-the-background or Muzak in a lift. Make it part of your daily life in whatever way helps you, and reap the benefits!