Last Saturday as I performed at a large outdoor Italian festival with my fellow musicians of our band ENTERPRISE (Facebook.com/ENTERPRISE-LIVE-MUSIC), I was overjoyed to see so much happiness began to snowball in one place. Hundreds of people dancing, eating, chatting, laughing—it seemed like every age group was represented, and the cares of the world slowly drifted far away from all of them, as if encapsulated inside a helium balloon that progressively shrinks down to the size of a pen point just before it disappears totally into the horizon.
As our music filled the air you could see people’s hearts get lighter and fill with merriment. Even the oldest of the crowd got up from their chairs and began to dance with the energy of teenagers.
Of course, it wasn’t just the fact that ENTERPRISE was playing (as partial as I may be to our music); rather, this kind of mood—and even physical —transformation happens commonly from the positive effects that music in generalhas on human emotions and even on human health. People exposed to music are less focused on aches, pains, worries and problems because music elicits positive emotions and “feel-good” brain chemicals, like dopamine. Positive emotions, according to some studies are also inversely related to inflammation—which can be a trigger for many short and long term illness.
Music has been used in rehabilitation settings after heart attacks and strokes, in stress reduction, sleep regulation, and according to one study—music can also strengthen social bonding by making us feel more relaxed when in social settings. Music can bring back beautiful and important memories that connect us to our personal history and family members who may no longer be here. Who amongst us doesn’t remember certain songs that came on the radio when we were with some special high school friends; or the song that played when we went out on our first date; or what was playing on the radio when as a kid we watched our grandmother cooking?
The benefits of filling your life with music are endless. Music provides the backdrop for good times—parities, dances, concerts—and it can act as a comfort in the tough times, for when there are no words that can quite as effectively reach the heart.
Whether you create music, listen to music, dance to music, or just let music provide the background as you move through your day; filling your life with music can be a super-effective source of happiness. Let’s all do more of it!
What kind of music provides the backdrop for YOUR life?