Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Practice-Music prescription for mood-lifting

photo by Patricia Herlevi
It happens to all of us.  Trying to stay in a good mood and beat the positive drum, and the blues comes seeping through the cracks.  Pretty soon, the funk gets deeper and the moods spiral downward.  Some people take pills, but for mild to moderate depression, try music instead.

Obviously, turning to music with self-defeating lyrics or a vocalist lashing out venom to his or her listeners won't uplift any moods.  Sometimes when people feel a funk coming on, they choose music that will only take them deeper into depression. However, working in increments of positivity goes a long way in battling a bad mood.

For moderate depression, you need to move to the next level which is anger.  For this you might need something along the lines of Beethoven's 5th Symphony or classic American blues (not the self-pitying blues).  But you don't want to wallow in anger to then you find music that will take you to the next level.  I recommend music with a heavy beat such as West African drums and really move that anger out of your system, send it deep into the earth and watch it dissolve in your thoughts.  When you feel the next level of frustration, just keep dancing--sweat it out and get those endorphins going.

Okay, so now you're ready for the more upbeat music.  I recommend any of the Putumayo compilations (safe territory for feeling groovy), Mozart operas or Italian comical operas can also get you going.  If you don't find show tunes too corny, then listen to soundtracks from both cinematic and Broadway musicals--sing along for fuller enjoyment.  Jazz and American classic songs such as Get Your Kicks on Route 66 or any of those tunes that Nat King Cole crooned during his day.  How about Banana Boat anyone?

It doesn't matter what songs we choose as long as we're buzzing from a good mood and feel more empowered from our choices.  I realize that severe depression is another story and it's best to consult a professional therapist (a music therapist would be ideal).  But for mild depression, the right music, a good diet and exercise usually brings relief.  I know from experience.

And here's a little sunshine to add to your journey on an upward spiral. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6tV11acSRk

Don't forget to keep a music journal and write down results of songs.

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