Having a bad day? I bet I can help.
In many ways, music is a wonderful thing. It helps us remember things we never thought we could think back to. It reconnects a part of us that we thought we had said goodbye to. Like hearing Barney’s soundtrack after ten years and reminiscing about what it was like to be 4 and in love with a big purple dinosaur.
The effects that music has on the mind are unique to humans. If you’re playing Old Town Road for your dog, he’s not going to stand on his hind legs and dance with you. Music can do several things, including a mood stabilizer.
music and the brain
We have all listened to music, even when we were babies. Maybe you were in the car when you were a month old, heard a song, and started fidgeting in your seat. Or you heard a sad/slow song and you started to fall asleep…
Music establishes a deep connection with the brain. In doing so, it begins to control our emotions, our mood. When we listen to a happy or peaceful song, our brain replays happy memories, fueling our happiness, thereby making us breathe faster, which science says is a physical side effect of happiness. When we listen to sad or sometimes even angry songs, the memories that relate to those emotions are replayed. But the above emotions cause more health-related physical responses, such as low blood pressure and reduced heart rate.
In some situations, music can be used as a type of treatment because, as I mentioned before, music can make a connection deep in the brain; it has been known to relieve pain. If a family member has fibromyalgia, play their favorite song. When music like this is played, it stimulates the body’s natural painkillers, opioids. It’s like music is the new medicine, literally.
This type of treatment is also used when people’s immune system is weakened after surgery. Either patients with revolving heart complications, music therapy is operated to reduce heart rate and blood pressure in patients. Symptoms of depression too. I can go on and on about the powerful influence music can have.
How music can have this effect on the brain
We have about 86 billion neurons in our brain, all wired together. Each singular neuron has 10,000 connections. The circuits are the path between all the billions of neurons that it follows, the electrical activity that guides it. There are several specific circuits that control how much pleasure we get from music or good food. These are called the frontostriatal circuits.
Once the chemical dopamine is released, linking this circuitry, this chemical fuels us with motivation and happiness. Dopamine is considered in a scientific term, a neurotransmitter. It is a reward processing chemical, activated only when we eat good food or listen to emotionally connected music.
You may even get a dopamine rush when your favorite part of a song comes along, so you start to get anticipated and your brain triggers dopamine as a reaction.
In this list, I have a variety of songs ranging from artist to genre to suit different tastes. Most of them are old, but some say that just means the songs are better! Don’t expect results the moment you press play, be patient. I hope you enjoy these songs like me!
1. Moonlight by Debussy
A simple classic song like this has a very interchangeable brain reaction. All of our brains have distinct responses to songs based on previous experiences. According to one of my references, more people had the same reactions with classical music than with more complicated pop songs like Senorita by Shawn Mendes. I guess since classic songs are more straightforward and precise, our brains don’t connect them all to a specific place or event, thus easily triggering the same thoughts and opinions.
2. Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings
3. Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor by Beethoven
4. Beach Boys Good Vibes
5. Girls just wanna have fun by Cyndi Lauper
6. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
7. Living On a Prayer by Bon Jovi
8. Tiger’s Eye by Survivor
9. Dancing Queen by Abba
10. First breath after coma by explosions in the sky
Musicians and their brains
People who write these incredible songs are more likely to have healthier and more sensitive brains. Playing music has more positive impacts than just listening to it. It can improve your memory and learning. Compared to someone who has no musical contact, musicians have healthier brains, allowing them to accomplish more. Creating music is a wonderful hobby with many rewards. In other words, the more invested you are in the music, the better.
The level of efficiency
These songs would be most effective on people who heard these specific songs in childhood, but people who haven’t had a result yet. Most of these songs I had never heard of until a few days ago when I started writing this article, and when I played them, I was automatically motivated and happy. More often than not, these kinds of songs relate to soothing memories, another way to dissect the dopamine from these songs. If they were related to fond memories, play some of these songs (try #6) to your parents and I’ll bet you $20 they’ll start singing along and be in a better mood as a result.
Tips and tricks
What I suggest is to create a playlist of these songs and some of your favorites and listen to them when needed.
Play these songs from any of your music listening platforms. Youtube, Spotify, Itunes.
But don’t listen to these songs too often, as you know, when you listen to your favorite song over and over again, you’re fed up, it’s the same with the list of songs that I offer you. Space out your listening, the more you listen, the more the effects will diminish.