Music & Our Mood

Posted on in Todd Talks by Todd Johnson

I don’t know about you, but music is important to me, and it’s always been an important part of my life. No, I don’t play any instruments and I don’t sing (publicly). I always wanted to learn how to play guitar or drums, and at one point I bought a guitar and worked at it for a few weeks, but I sat it down and never really picked it back up again. There’s still hope for me, but that’s not really what this is about. I’m talking more about listening to music and how it affects us.  

When you hear certain songs, can you remember where you were the first time you heard it? How about who you were with? What you were doing? I can. Much like how certain smells can bring back an old memory, music transports us to another place and time.  In fact, music is so effective at jogging our memories, it has been used to treat Alzheimer's and Dementia. Music has a long history of being used in healthcare to reduce stress, treat anxiety and depression, and even pain management. Have you ever had goosebumps from listening to a song? That’s probably an effect from the release of dopamine and serotonin in your body, which can help reduce stress, distract from pain, and possibly aid healing.  

cassette tape

Music often reflects my mood. I listen to music at my desk almost on a daily basis. Most of the time it’s one form of alternative or another, but occasionally I will go with classical piano, or orchestral music if I need to relax or focus intensely on a large, complicated project. When I go for a run, the mix has to be fast and motivational.  

Feeling sad? Misery loves company. Try listing to an emotional play list. There’s no shortage of sad songs. No matter what has got you down, someone else has felt the same way and written a song about it. It’s nice to know others have  experienced those same emotions. There’s comfort in that. Often those songs also walk through coping with the very issues you and I deal with. It’s almost like a free therapy session.   

As humans, our  ability to make music is truly amazing. We bang on drums or piano keys, blow into horns and saxophones, pluck or strum on strings, press buttons and clap or snap. And all of it is just noise unless it’s presented in a certain way.  

I will leave you with a playlist I would listen to for a short run. 

Everlong – Foo Fighters 

I Just Wanna Run – The Downtown Fiction 

The Boys of Summer – The Ataris (a bit faster than the original by Don Henley) 

Cult Of Personality – Living Colour 

Disappear Here – Bad Suns 

Fire It Up – Modest Mouse 

My Body – Young The Giant 

Looking For Somebody – The 1975