I’ve seemed to be lost in thought during various times in a given day for as long as I can remember. My girlfriend during my teen years actually gifted me a ‘The Thinker’ bookmark because she was amazed at how much time I could spend just being lost in thought (And yet this activity did not prevent me from shooting my mouth at the wrong time before thinking and getting me into trouble on several occasions). I suppose all of us wander into involuntary thinking not only when we are alone during our daily commute, quick work meals, while reading, but also when we are engaged in activities involving other humans and animals, including meaningful ones like gossip, drinking games (sometimes we pass out and dream instead of think), hanging out of the windows on a road trip (and then unwittingly peeing on an electric fence when there are no rest areas in sight), discuss the new hairstyle of a pop star for six straight hours, and even while complaining to our pet hamster about the incompetence of our spouses when it comes to folding clothes the right way.
In one of my previous blogs, I’ve written about how we end up daydreaming about a better life or palpitating about unperceived fears as we go deeper into our thoughts. Either way, aimless thinking creates a lot of noise in our mind that prevents us from living in the present. By constantly dragging the past along and keeping one outstretched arm to cling on to a hopeful future, we are completely oblivious to the ‘now’. At times it’s just other mindless distractions that keep us busy for the better part of our days. It’s important to silence all this noise to allow us to truly live in the moment, be aware of our being, and truly feel happy and at peace.
While the silencing has to come from the heart and mind, external triggers can be very helpful in calming our nerves and helping us focus on current affairs. Music!! It has effectively worked for me to fill in a lot of unwanted noise during the course of my life. The bandwidth and versatility of music are large enough to enthrall any being, humans as well as civilized species. There are innumerable types of synchronized sounds created for everyone’s taste. I don’t believe I have ever met anyone that does not like music. In fact, even my dachshunds would get into the ‘running man’ groove every now and again on dance numbers. Ranging from Rock, Pop, Jazz, Classical, Latin, Hip Hop, Country, R&B, Folk, Bollywood, E-D-M, I-D-I-O-T (some music can be annoying) to alarm clocks, elevator dings, crying babies, and nagging spouses, there is at least one sound form that enthralls everyone.
I appreciate and enjoy various types of music and am not a fanatic of just one or two types. I know a lot of people that prefer just one type of music, which is fine, but then to look down upon other forms of music is just melodious racism. In my experience, these are usually the folk that claim to be massive metal fans. Sometimes they go overboard in preaching about the brilliance of metal and how every form of music is below par. I feel like taking a large piece of metal and bashing their skulls in. But then that would be unlawful.
Having let out some steam about the ‘clanking’ metal boys and girls, here are a few positive impacts music has on me. Assuming we are all made of flesh, bones, and stupidity, I’m certain it would hold similar benefits for you.
- It helps improve my cognitive abilities (An argument can be made that I have none). I understand, learn and retain better with music streaming (instrumental is ideal) into my ears (Unless it is metal. Then it just sounds like a few dozen containers fell off their shelves in the kitchen, which leads to a ‘startling’ revelation).
- My concentration is a lot better while listening to music (Binaural beats are great), which is a massive positive for a ’gets distracted every 10 seconds’ bloke like me.
- It is a fantastic stress buster. A nice walk with earphones plugged in does wonders in calming my nerves and helping me think in a relaxed manner.
- It is highly comforting during trying times, moments of fear, anger, depression, loneliness, and anxiety, which are needles that pierce our minds and hearts quite regularly and easily. I always find a song that helps me feel rejuvenated when I’m in a somber mood.
- It helps me during my workouts. I seem to have extra reserve energy and enhanced physical abilities (unfortunately not quite in the Hulk category just yet) to do the extra sets and run the extra mile when I listen to music during my exercise regimes.
- Music helps me with creativity. I listen to soft soothing instrumental pieces while writing my blogs for instance (Now let this not be a deterrent towards music).
- Sometimes groovy numbers just make me dance. It does look awkward at client meetings, bus lines, during surgery, and even during court cases especially if you are the defendant. But a bit of lunacy every once in a while is good for our soul.
If we want to consider scientific findings, the benefits of music are plenty. We feel generally happy as our brain releases dopamine (the neurotransmitter that makes us feel good) when listening to music. Music improves memory. Research shows that cancer patients exposed to music while treatment, tend to experience decreased pain levels. Calming music improves quality of sleep. Music improves overall motivation and keeps us on track to achieve goals. And music also contributes positively to the well being of premature babies, help Alzheimer’s patients remember better, and improves our IQ among several other benefits.
What’s more, it also helps impress your girlfriend unless you share Bollywood songs from the late 80s with her, in which case you may as well have insulted her mother instead.
Music entertains us and gives us joy, but also inspires us, helps us endure, and acts as a catalyst in fighting the demons in our heads and hearts. We have so much unwanted noise in our minds. Why not fill it with sweet melodies?