Music is a great tool for stimulating emotions, whether you want to pump yourself up and get motivated to focus on a task (physical or mental), relax and let go of the tensions of your day, or simply shift your mood to a happier state. It continually amazes me how much of an emotional response I get to certain pieces of music, whether it’s the melody, rhythm, lyrics, or connection to personal memories, or a combination of the four.
As I delved a little more deeply into this topic, I found that psychological research surrounding this topic presents a lot of conflicting views, adding little to my overall thoughts on the topic beyond confirming what I already know: “The mind is a weird and wonderful thing. Like electricity, we don’t need to understand how or why it does what it does in order to make use of it.” If you want to read about this research, check out “Emotional Responses to Music: The Need to Consider Underlying Mechanisms.”
So instead of analyzing and philosophizing, I’ll just say that I find it is a powerful tool to have a number of song picks that I can go to when I want to shift my mood for whatever purpose. Below are lists of song titles that Chris and I personally use, both for motivation, relaxation and happiness.
Lori’s Song Picks for Motivation
Inside the Sun Remix – Yoshida Brothers
I’m not sure if this choice is at all related to the fact that it was used in a commercial for the Wii when it first came out, but I sure like this song!
Sabotage – Beastie Boys
My enjoyment of this song increased massively after seeing it in the recent Star Trek movie.
Lori’s Song Picks for Relaxation
Now: The Gift is the Present – Peter Davison
This is only one song from the Album ‘Music for Relaxation’ but I like the whole thing.
Thunderstorm in the Wilderness - Dan Gibson’s Solitudes
I couldn’t find a playable version of this online, but basically it’s a 51-minute recording of a storm blowing through a lake area. While not technically a “musical piece”, this CD makes me feel close to nature and reminds me of camping (which I find very relaxing).
Lori’s Song Picks for Happiness
Move Along – All-American Rejects
While the lyrics of this song are about staying strong through adversity, to me it’s a happy song that reminds me of playing Rock Band with the people I’m closest too. (Really fun on drums!)
Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
This song doesn’t have any particular attachment to memories for me, rather it is the lyrics that lift me.
Float On – Modest Mouse
Also a song I like playing on Rock Band, the lyrics of this song also make me smile. Particular bits remind me of times in the past (like when my husband and I both got laid off on the same day, making us decide to focus more completely on the work that we’re passionate about in life).