Music To Soothe The Savage Beast

I long ago learned that my moods swing along with the music I choose.  Of course it would.   I would choose my music based on my mood, listening to sad songs when I was sad, aggressive songs when I needed to blow off a little steam, and cheery songs when I was feeling good.

Eventually I realized that while this approach to music might help me express what I feel, it also helped to reinforce my mood.  That is good thing when the mood is upbeat but not so good when the mood is bad.

I remember a young lad who used to live next door to my husband and I.  I would know when he arrived home from school because his stereo would begin to pound out base notes.  I would hear that pounding base next door and my research or writing wouldhave to come to an end.  I like this kid, so I decided to call him one day and explain my situation.  His response was an apology.  He said he needed the aggressive music to blow off steam, but he promised in future to keep the volume low.

In thinking about this later, I realized that it might have seemed to him that he was blowing off steam, but if that booming base was irritating me, it certainly had to also be irritating him.  He was already irritated so he didn't notice or care.  But the same problem kept repeating itself, so the irritation never really seemed to go away.

DIY talk therapy and education is what led me to realize I could redirect my mood with skillful use of my thinking.  For a great introduction to the idea that thinking comes first and emotion follows, look to the book Feeling Good by David Burns.   

It took me a little longer than the experience with this young man to realize that I was doing the same thing.  In my case, though, it was sad music.  I felt like listening to it because I was sad.  But it didn't help me feel any better.  It only made me more sad.

For a while now, the rare time I am sad, I have felt guided to listen to upbeat spiritual stuff instead.  What a difference that has made.  It focuses my thinking on the higher reality I know exists in back of life's dream.


Music To Uplift Us