Happiness and music

Happiness and music

This morning’s free eNewsletter, sent out by The Happiness Institute each and every Monday morning, includes 2 guest articles that both, in very different ways, touch on the relationship between happiness and music. I hope you find them of interest…

by Mark Hansen (www.markhansen.biz)

Music as therapy has been known for some time. The expression “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak”, describes the power of music to relieve the mind and body of stress. Songs that are written from deep emotional experiences can do more than just soothe. By awakening the deep disquiet within, well written, truthful songs can connect the listener to the songwriter’s pain, joy, fear or anger and create a sort of affirmation of the soul. “I’ve been through what you’ve been through and know what you’re feeling”, is the message that can create a therapeutic affect in the listener. It can also act as a sort of virtual support group where the listener’s feelings and experiences are validated.

I remember listening to Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” after a relationship breakup and singing along to the chorus. It helped to release my grief and gave me permission to really vent within a safe time frame – i.e. the length of the song. Some of Evanescence’s songs have also had that effect, most notably “My Immortal”. There are also upbeat songs to boost your mood and get you in touch with the joys of life. Stevie Wonder writes some great songs in that vein like “I Wish” and “Isn’t She Lovely”. And then of course there are the classics “Wonderful World” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

So if you are feeling down or weird or lonely or angry or anything in-between, try using songs to get you fully in touch with your feeling and thoughts. Then you can release them and be affirmed and accepted by the songwriter. Remember if a song is popular that means that alot of people can identify with its message which shows you are not alone in your feelings or experiences of life.

by CHAP Peter Devenish-Meares

The Bobby McFerrin song _ã–Don_ã_t worry be happy_㝠contained a perhaps clichê©d but powerful statement that I wish I could follow much more. Easier said than done, however as Jesus said, _ã–_ã_.worry won_ã_t add one day to your life_ã__ã!!!

I am not for one moment suggesting we shouldn_ã_t be concerned, where necessary, nor plan well to overcome challenges. However, worry in itself is counterproductive and can trigger a lot of (wasted) energy.

There is a book called _ã–Who Will Cry When You Die_㝠by Robin Sharma. The title could be challenging title because it triggers questions like (a) what did I spend my time and energy on?, (b) how do I want to be remembered? and (c) what did I miss out on doing because I was focussed on worry?. The book tries to address some of life_ã_s most frustrating challenges and considers topics such as “discover your calling,” “see your troubles as blessings,” and “enjoy the path, not just the rewards,” etc.

Someone once said _ã–don_ã_t worry about things you can_ã_t change_ã_ _ã_ I wish I could make that a mantra when I face a challenge in my own life. Robin Sharma says 54% of our worries relate to things that would likely never happen, 26% were about past actions that could not be changed, 8% related to opinions of people, 4 % concerned personal health issues that fix themselves and only 6% concerned real issues worthy of our attention. Not sure the statistics here are entirely accurate but if they are_ã_wow!

Identifying and then letting go of the worries we can_ã_t do anything about or that are a complete waste of our efforts and energy, could eliminate 94% of the worries that plague us. Sure, we should have a wise concern for the future and take whatever steps we need to now to provide for ourselves and for those we care for and support at home and at work. However, what we are addressing here is the kind of destructive anxiety that eats into our souls and deprives us of sleep. Anxiety robs us of peace, and joy and propels us into a mythical future, where we lack what we need and where we are gripped by fear.

Many of our fears and worries never materialise, and our worrying seldom has anything to do with fixing or repairing the future, only fearing.

Finally_ã_.worry won_ã_t add one day to your life_ã_!!! (adapted from Luke 12: 23)