Dr. Rachell N. Anderson
It has been said that music is the food of love and many couples have a special song called “our song” that is the theme of their relationship. The song can serve as a kind of mental glue that binds them together. Maybe it was the song that was played when they had their first dance, first kiss or the moment they knew they were in love. The song can serve as an antidote in difficult times and it rarely loses its magic with age or cognitive decline.
Why is that? You ask. Both music and love go to our heads. They trigger specific chemicals in the brain that make us think better and feel good. And as a result, we behave better. Dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine increase when people fall in love and, also, when we hear or sing our kind of music, blood flows to the pleasure center of the brain and we feel an overwhelming fixation with our partner or our music and we get loving feelings. Dopamine creates feelings of euphoria while adrenaline and norepinephrine are responsible for the pitter-patter of the heart, restlessness and overall preoccupation that go along with experiencing new love.
We’ve all experienced a song that sticks in our heads and stays most of the day. Known as ear worms, we may find ourselves singing along and it is impossible to get the tune out of our head. Psychologists know that we humans spend a large percent of our days engaging in random, spontaneous thinking that are not related to our present task. They have learned that most of it is soul searching, wondering how we are doing and how we are in relation to others and our environment. So love and music invite us to evaluate ourselves and to use what we find to be more than we have been; to become better people and to give new meaning to our lives. So by listening to and singing music, we find solace and join ourselves to the wellspring of life.
Music is so heavily connected with themes of love. Musicians sing about love, songs are used to express love in all forms. Romantic, or love of friends and family, love for God and country are all there. Music is a big part of many people's daily life, and with very good reason.
It is inevitable that romantic love changes over time. The euphoric flame changes from passionate love to a slower burning flame to what is typically called compassionate love. Couples in long term relationships have to give credence to the new flame. That does not, however, mean that the spark of romance is quenched. Music can trigger loving memories like no stimulant can. It connects couples to their past and provides a means for connecting to a shared past and a planned future.
Our songs are not just for lovers. Friends, families and groups of people, indeed a nation who share songs, delight in them. Consider the songs God Bless America and America The Beautiful.
Music reconnects people to others and makes it possible to form relationships and the emotions that go along with them. Music can provide a crucially important link to the past but can also help us to build a better, interconnected future.
You don’t have to be good at it to do it. Like the slogan says, just do it. With help from Phillip’s latest book The Music Instinct, here are a few suggestions.
What’s A Person To Do?
1. Sing your heart out. Singing is cheaper than therapy. It can lift your spirit and solve today’s pressing problems.
2. Listen to your music. It makes you more creative, boosts your memory, is good for your health and well being and can help prolong life.
3. Join a singing or music playing group or get a few people together and form one. Good friendships come from shared fun activities.
4. Wait to be surprised by your personal changes.
Love and music can humanize us all.