I recently did a wonderful experiment that I’d love to share. I asked 40 diverse people to tell me a song that they listen to when they need healing. I also asked them what they found curative about that particular song. I asked people from all walks of life – of all ages, genders, nationalities and backgrounds. I also asked both musicians and people who aren’t musically inclined.
These Are the Incredible Results
As expected, the songs collected were of almost every genre you could think of. One of the brain’s common responses to music is the release of dopamine, the happy chemical and oxytocin, a natural painkiller. In other words, music can be described as the healthiest and most natural drug you can consume. Therefore, one way music heals is simply by altering your mood and making you happier. This doesn’t mean that the music necessarily has to be happy in order to make you feel better. Music that you would describe as ‘sad’ or ‘melancholy’ has perhaps an even greater power in helping you heal. Did you ever find it weird that some people are quick to listen to sad music when they’re sad? It’s because music in general allows us to process feelings better, while enveloped with feel-good hormones.
It was amazing to discover that people can find an element of healing in so many types of music. The explanations I got for the song choices were also enlightening. Some said the songs helped them process their emotions, or put a smile on their face, or give them much needed inspiration and encouragement to overcome difficult times. Some said their song choice just helped them experience true peace needed.
I’ve created a playlist of all these songs that I’ve collected, which I encourage you to check out whenever you feel like a dose of inspiration. Some song you might already know, whereas others might not resonate with you at all and you’ll skip over them. However, my hope is that you’ll discover some new music that will touch you in a different way, music that you might not have otherwise encountered. Before dismissing a song and wonder “how on earth could that music make anyone feel better?”, give it a chance to have its effect on you.
Every week I’ll pick a theme and highlight 5 songs from the playlist. I’ll include quotes from the wonderful human who submitted each song to explain what it means to them, giving you a fresh perspective on genres of music that you aren’t familiar with.