Dance joy: how music creates happiness
Have you ever turned on your iPod, listened to your favourite song and have just gone, ‘wow!’?
Listening to music – whether it’s your favourite song, artist or band, or discovering a new genre or talent – is an incredibly moving sensation. That great rush from a single auditory cue is enigmatic.
Neurological studies of music on the brain suggest that we are intrinsically programmed to react emotionally towards a song or piece of music. Happy music, usually with a fast or upbeat tempo, boosts our heart rate and stimulates a quicker breathing pattern – prompting us to smile, release endorphins and fundamentally, be happy. Similarly, sad music, written in a minor key and often slower, causes our pulse to slow down, bringing about a more melancholy reaction.
Either way, music is cathartic, and anyone who has found an emotional connection to a song knows that the benefits of a good cry (or laugh) are bountiful.
Music therapy has also been a useful tool in treating those with depression, not to mention it can reduce feelings of loneliness or anxiety in the elderly. Music, and its myriad of elements (physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic or spiritual) can help improve a person’s physical and mental health and consequently, their quality of life. The sound of a drum being thumped, or the clack of a maraca brings a smile to the downhearted.
One can also attribute music to creating great social bonds amongst us. Live music – whether it’s a lone acoustic guitarist at the local pub, or a celebrity band on tour, inspires us to think, draw improvisation, chit-chat and even dance!
Music is just one element around us that can actively support and encourage people to improve their health, functioning and wellbeing. It is not only about bringing people from different cultures and backgrounds together, but striving for that mutual goal of happiness.
Those chills, they’re multiplying…
Here’s 10 songs guaranteed to inspire happiness!
- I’m a Believer – Smash Mouth
- Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
- Everybody Talks – Neon Trees
- You’re My Best Friend – Queen
- Superstition – Stevie Wonder
- Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!
- Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & the Waves
- The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars
- Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake
- Learnalilgivinanlovin’ – Gotye