For the Love of Music

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” —Billy Joel

The last two months I have worked on a challenge. Shying away from calling it a New Year’s Resolution because if past years were any indication of my patterns, I tend to fade out on those resolutions quickly. I wanted a challenge that would motivate me in a variety of areas of my life. So I decided to challenge myself to incorporate more music into my day.

Mornings are not always my friend and I rely on the power of caffeine to get me going. Don’t worry, I did not go so drastic in my challenge as to cut out caffeine. I value the people around me too much to put them through that scenario. No, I just added some music to my morning routine as well. I created a playlist of upbeat, positive songs, putting my wireless speaker into the bathroom and cranking the energizing tunes while I showered. Songs to sing along with…because we all know how much better we sound when we sing in the shower! Gone was the morning news I usually began my day with and by replacing it with music, I was pleasantly surprised with my energy and positive outlook to start the day.

My writing project during this time was to finish up editing and revising a romance novel. So I created a playlist filled with crooner and big band era music. I loved playing this music as I did things around the house. It made chores seem somewhat more enjoyable…somewhat. The genre of music gave me the motivation to write and new ideas flowed.

Music has this amazing ability to uplift the spirit and also soothe the mind. During evenings I would play calm, inspirational tunes or simply instrumental songs with nature sounds interwoven into the music. All electrical devices were turned off by 9pm and it was just me, my music and a good book. I began to watch less tv. Sleep came easy. Over the last couple of weeks I strayed from this nightly pattern and the insomnia and restless sleep once again had returned. In my mind, I knew the detriment of electronics before bed but slipping back into old habits showed me the importance of sticking to this new nightly routine I had established.

Incorporating more music into our day made a positive impact on my daughters as well. Driving teens around somedays I feel like an Uber Mom and so I try to be intentional with our time, connecting. No earbuds by passengers are ever allowed. We would play music and everyone got a chance to be the DJ. Laughing, car singing and the occasional dancing may have occurred. It was fun to share new songs with each other!

Scientifically, there is plenty of research on the positive effects of music on the brain. Listening to music has been shown to reduce pain, decrease stress and anxiety as well as improve memory and mood. Even patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia have been known to find relief through the power of music. Children with post traumatic stress disorders, anxiety or various forms of special needs have also benefitted from music as a therapeutic resource. Yet, more and more we see many public schools forced to reduce music and arts programming.

So if you find yourself struggling with energy or needing to reduce stress, step away from devices, social media and news stories and just crank your favourite tunes. It may even motivate you to pick up an instrument and begin playing because there’s even more known benefits to the brain and body when you play an instrument.

January and February can be gloomy months, especially on the rainy west coast. I’m so glad I chose this music challenge as I was reminded how much music has meant to me over the years. It’s amazing how some songs can still bring back a flood of memories from special moments in my childhood and teen years.

Not only the musical notes and tunes, but the lyrical poetry and stories found within the songs gave me a much needed boost during this winter. Let me know how you incorporate music into your day by commenting below.

A love of music does the heart good!

“Music is life. That’s why our hearts have beats.”-unknown

May your day be filled with sunshine and your heart with songs. -love Nikki

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