I really loved the idea of putting together a “Happiness Playlist” when I heard it on Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier podcast”.
But it wasn’t until I was going through a particularly rough patch that I decided to create a playlist for myself. The exercise in itself was therapeutic – I really enjoyed choosing the songs that were uplifting for me. I have this weird perfectionism habit of overanalyzing, but in creating this playlist I let go of overjudging. It didn’t matter whether a song was too cheesy or not. The only things that I really considered was – does this song bring a smile to my face? Does it make me feel good? If listening to the song brings shivers down your spine – then chances are, you’re doing it right, my friend.
1. Music lift spirits by activating the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which is responsible for your blood pressure and heartbeat, and your limbic system which is responsible for your emotions. Studies have found that music can help reduce blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. As long as the music is happy and upbeat, it can have a very positive effect on our well being. You can read more about these studies here.
2. Music or anticipation of music triggers the dopamine response in your brain. There was a study on nature neuroscience that explored the brain’s response to music using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They found that “intense pleasure in response to music can lead to dopamine release.” Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain which is a chemical that plays a role in setting good moods. Dopamine is released in response or anticipation to a response of stimuli such as food, money and even love, creating a “feel good” state.
So if you find yourself in a bad mood, you might want to try creating a “Happier 9-11” playlist. Or if you don’t have time, feel free to listen to mine. Warning: Seb describes my musical taste as “weird and random”. So you have been forewarned. Enjoy! If you have any happy music you’d like to share with us, please leave it in the comments below.