A Joyful Noise

I have found a happiness elixir. It comes in through my ears and goes right to my heart. It makes my voice sing and my feet dance. That’s because it’s music.

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I have a sure-fire way of dealing with whatever life throws at me. I throw music right back. It’s magical to me the power that music has to help me make my life lighter.

Music is my motivational coach. When I am grouchy because I’m not in the mood to clean the floor, or I’m trying to convince my despondent children to clean their rooms, I crank up the music. I’ll sing and dance and agree that Snow White was right about whistling while you work. It’s a major pick-me-up as I pick-the-house-up! I always choose something with a “motivational” feeling. Don’t laugh… my favorite is the sound track to Star Wars!

Music is medicine for lifting my mood. When I am upset, tired, sad, or any of the emotions that manage to settle heavily on my heart, I turn to music. Sometimes it’s a sad song, because that’s how I feel, but in listening to it, I feel my own sadness lift. Sometimes it’s a song that expresses the frustration I’m feeling about a situation and just knowing that someone else has felt that way seems to lighten what I’m feeling. I have a whole playlist of “power” songs for days when my responsibilities feel like trying to carry a mountain. Songs like, “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” pump me back up and remind me that I really do “rock!”

Singing music myself not only opens my mouth, but my mind and my heart that much more. I am one of those people that sing in their car. With the windows down. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t sing. Sometimes I sing as I ask my children to do something. Somehow belting out, “Please pick up your dirty clothes!” in the style of Aretha Franklin gets a laugh more than a glare. And more often than not it gets done.

Dancing to music has the added effect of moving my body, pumping those sweet endorphins into my brain. When words just won’t do, I dance to express how I’m feeling. It’s a great way to get emotions out without hurting something! I’ve just been sure to stay away from the splits since about 1991.

Believe it or not, on days when I’m so lethargic that I don’t think I can get one more thing done, I take time to dance. I’ll turn on something slow for a few minutes and just let my arms and legs flow to the music. Then I’ll turn on something faster and really rock out. The muscle movement, blood flow, and those delightful endorphins give me the kick-start to keep going. A really fun one to try this with is Edvard Grieg’s, “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Try it!

My kids have developed this love for free movement. When my two older kids were younger, we started a fun tradition where each of us got to pick a song (often just found on YouTube or my iTunes) and then we all made up “interpretive movements” to it. They even went through a phase where they exclusively requested old 80s songs, which they found absolutely hilarious for some reason. We made up some pretty funny choreography together, which inevitably ended up with us laughing so hard we fell over.  Yeah, NKOTB was that funny. I can’t wait to start doing this with the twins. Maybe tonight…

But really, whether it’s singing, dancing, or just listening to it, music is magical. It really is my elixir of happiness.

Do you have songs that make your life lighter?

This post was originally written for the Power of Moms website and can be seen here.

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