By Judi Light Hopson, Emma H Hopson and Ted Hagen / Tribune News Service
It’s always easier to perform tasks and make extra effort if you’re in a good mood.
If your home life, relationships, or job efforts are keeping you stressed, try playing some of your favourite tunes.
Music is an instant mood changer, and it can give you energy you didn’t know you had.
Consider our friend Deborah. She was looking forward to a Friday evening to relax and do nothing. She’d just put on her pajamas at 7pm.
“Then,” Deborah told us, “my sister called to see if I would baby-sit. Her husband had been taken to the local ER with an asthma attack. I wanted to scream. My sister has four kids under the age of 10!”
Deborah changed into her jeans and a tee shirt, crawled into her car, and headed for her sister’s house.
“I was weeping and wailing as I drove,” Deborah laughs. “Heck, I just wanted some peace!” But, when Deborah turned on the car radio, the song “Dancing Queen”, by the group Abba was playing.
“By the time I turned into my sister’s driveway to take custody of the kids from their neighbour, I felt fine!” Deborah told us.
It does take a lot of energy to accomplish anything, if you’re in a sad or down mood. Music can instantly change all that.
A veteran we’ll call Richard says he was depressed when he came home from a special assignment with the Navy four years ago. “I felt like crying!” he told us.
Richard goes on to say that when his daughter picked him up, she cranked up one of his favourite songs on the radio, which was an old disco tune from his college days.
“I suddenly felt like everything was going to be okay,” Richard declared. “All my worried thoughts just left the stage!”
Do you realise how much energy a bad mood can cost you? It takes four times the energy, and maybe more, to clean house, cook, do your taxes, or mow the yard if you’re in a negative frame of mind.
You know how this goes. You’re already tired, and your tire goes flat or your coworker calls you to give some bad news about a project. Just moving seems to take all your strength.
But, if a lively or special song appears in your world, all of a sudden, things change. You see light at the end of the tunnel, and you feel like you can do what’s required of you.
Music is a great energiser. It is also a great healer.
“My marriage was almost on the rocks,” says a high school teacher we’ll call Tim. “I started playing some of our favourite old songs as we cooked dinner every evening. On the fourth or fifth night, it’s like we were in love again.”
Tim says he and his wife used to discuss the day’s problems as they cooked dinner. This led to feeling stressed every single night.
“Now, we save problems for Saturday morning after breakfast,” says Tim. “We set aside an hour to make new plans, fix anything that’s getting on our nerves, and we make out a schedule for the following week. Then, my wife and I go for a walk with our kids.”
We can’t always live in an upbeat world or run from our problems, but we can figure out how to take control. A little music at just the right time can’t hurt.
*Judi Light Hopson is the executive director of the stress management website USA Wellness Cafe at www.usawellnesscafe.com. Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.
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