Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mood Shift with a Drum Roll

When I sit down to write this article, I usually let my mind move naturally to food and health, or running and exercise.  How I traverse the world around me through these mediums.  And how I would love to share an observation with you.
But today, as I sat at the kitchen table typing, the radio was playing ever so quietly Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.  Now, I am not a super Pink Floyd fan – but I am also not anti-Pink Floyd.  That being said, I do love this song.  My ears twitched and I stopped my typing when the first few slow notes were strummed on the guitar, before any other instruments or voices joined in.
And I sat still, hands resting motionless on the keyboard, while I allowed my mind to go back to a place and space very different than the kitchen table in my Massachusetts home.   I traveled through time, through a crack in the universe, to a place that made me smile at a friend’s much younger face and a funny joke, to a dirty teenage basement hangout and a long-forgotten but oh-so-loved friend.
You see, when we think about healing, about health, about running (or other exercise), or about the food we eat, it is oftentimes, with the intention to move our bodies and spirits to a place of perfect well-being. 
But what about music?  How does that fit in to health and well-being? 
When we are sad, all that’s on the radio are sad songs.  When we get ready to go out for the night, we play music that ‘pumps us up’ – at least that’s what I did.  Every song played when falling in love, seems to speak directly to our partner or about our relationship.  Emotions are heightened in music, for better or worse.  And watch out, when we are angry and scorned, You Oughta Knowfrom Jagged Little Pill makes a resurgence on every radio station from here to Georgia.
It is important to remember, as I sit in front of my modern-day typewriter, that on our path to health, we are more than exercise and food.  Sure, those are essential key elements with extraordinary power to heal (or prevent) health issues.  But I would challenge each one of us the next time we are in a funk.  Instead of succumbing to every sad depressing song on the radio, switch the station to some fun, even childlike, silly song.  See if that doesn’t shift your mood.
Although I use running and nutrition as go-to staples to help adjust me through life's various challenges and seasons, I was reminded today how music can move you to and through them as well.  It can be as powerful a shift-changer as exercise.

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