Do you find yourself in the New Year funk? Are you feeling testy, restless, grumpy or just plain sad? Is your “to do” list growing as your will to get moving becomes less and less appealing? You are not alone. Whether you have seasonal affective disorder from the lack of light and sunshine, depressed or frustrated from yet another day of pain or just bummed out, there is a trick you might try.
Turn up the volume and play your favorite music. Sing, wiggle, shout, dance around, laugh out loud or smile as the tunes carry you away to a place of fond memories or just plain fun. Whether you are home, in the car, at the doctor’s office or workplace (wear earplugs if you have to), give yourself permission to escape from all the noise from either inside your head, from others or both!
I have a friend, who plays her “heel kickin” music when she does housework as it keeps her motivated to “git er done”. I personally love to play loud, rocking music while driving in the car—especially if it is a long commute. Of course, I sing along whether I get the lyrics right or not. In fact, one of my favorite commercials this season is the one with the woman singing along to Blondie, not knowing she was not on mute during a business conference call. She is happy, she is focused, her colleagues are stunned AND she knows the lyrics too.
Music is an important and essential part of our culture and our history. This can be seen by the popularity of music festivals across the county; certain cities in the U.S. are known for their music scene, like New Orleans, NYC, LA, Seattle, Nashville, Austin (anyone catch Foo Fighters Sonic Highways?); and there is the growing online access to Pandora, YouTube and Spotify. Research is finding that music can improve mood and energize or relax the listener, depending on the selection. This is true for those living with pain as well as those who do not. Two studies by Ferguson at the University of Missouri found that participants successfully improved their moods for a short period of time and boosted their overall happiness when regularly listening to music over a two week period.
The body of research as to the benefits of music to health and wellbeing is growing. Many chronic conditions, like pain and most patient populations can benefit from Music Therapy as part of their treatment program. Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program (American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) definition, 2005). The American Music Therapy Association, notes that the healing nature of music has been documented since ancient times. They are a key organization for trained music therapists as well as research promotion. AMTA is a reliable resource to help you find a trained music therapist, should this option be considered as a formal part of your pain care.
So, in the meantime, don’t wait. Crank up the volume and enjoy those tunes!
If you are a regular reader of the TPC blogs, you may be familiar with our Daily Living blogs. If not, get ready to learn about how it is possible to live a new way of life with pain. I invite all of you to interact with myself and others on the topic of Claim That Tune by commenting on this article and joining the General Discussion on Pain found in our discussion forums on the TPC website. Signing up to participate in the discussion forums and other features of our online community is easy and free. Register Today!