Take Comfort: in music
Aw gosh, the holidays can be emotionally complicated. Not to mention that it’s almost impossible to dodge the holiday soundtrack from elevators to websites to restaurants to the grocery store. It goes without saying it’s all holiday musack all the time at the mall.
A Happier Soundtrack
Create a soundtrack to help lift your mood—though you don’t have to be down to do it! If you’re in a neutral or a slightly blue mood, music can entirely alter your state of mind. Music stimulates the reward centers of the brain, producing the hormone dopamine. The same hormone produced through sex and food.
I have a playlist called “Happier” and without fail, I can go from irritated, annoyed, or a little sad—to downright elated in a matter of seconds. The key to making your soundtrack is to simply choose songs that illicit an emotion in YOU. Not in your friend, not in your dog, not in your father.
Sad music might sound happy to you. Sometimes even sad songs uplift us, which seems counterintuitive. Here’s the research: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394009003279
Why make a Happier Soundtrack?
1) You’ll feel uplifted by the act of creating one—and adding to it over time: Nothing makes us feel more like our best self than accessing our own agency.
2) The body and mind need a break from negative emotions. Stress hormones build up keeping the body in a state of high alert. Stress from within is a potent--and as real--as stress from without.
You already know the drill, if you're on Spotify, say. https://www.spotify.com/us/
But I've gotta say that movie soundtracks give me some of my best sources for great music. My soundtrack won't sound like your soundtrack. But in case you're curious, I've plucked quite a few from the Big Night soundtrack. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL851F8B80FF830F95
What’s on your Happier Soundtrack?
I’d love to know.