Music, Your Mood, and What It Says About You
The type of music you listen to has a lot to do with how you approach
certain situations. After listening to a Joni Mitchell album, a colleague
remarked that we have very different music tastes. She said that my tastes
were too "soft" and "whiny". I explained to her that, while working, I
prefer a relaxing album to counterbalance my frustration as a writer/programmer.
In fact, music has a tremendous influence on our life. From the songs
used in television commercials to what we listen to for pleasure, our auditory
senses are overloaded on a daily basis. If we can manipulate ourselves
similar to the way commercials do, we can ease the emotional tension inherent
in our daily routine. From road rage to romance, our lives can run a little
I have a friend who has a bad case of road rage. He can't drive more
than a block without his face turning red. Children run for their lives
when they see him barreling down the street in his two-tone pickup. When
he's not in the car, however, he is a tolerant, respectable person. What
Metallica. All he had in his car was loud, blood pumping music. It pushed
his virtual testosterone level to the point of a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal.
When I popped in a little Wes Montgomery, his road rage all but disappeared.
He didn't notice much of a difference, but all the passengers quietly remarked
at his drastic change of face.
On a larger and more important scale, our relationships can slip into
routines that we don't see as unhealthy before it's too late. Once we establish
a history with our partner, we also develop patterns that are very difficult
to get rid of. Maybe one of you developed aggressive tendencies when playing
around, such as hitting or biting. These actions are manifestations of
One way to counteract these patterns is to consciously go against the
natural flow. For example, if you and your partner listen to stimulating
music and have a contentious relationship, perhaps you should try a more
mellow sound. On the other hand, if the relationship is passive to a fault,
louder more wrenching music might be in order.
Don't underestimate the power that music has over your emotions. Why
do you think they call certain styles "romantic" and others "fight songs"?
Think of what was played the last time you were at a sporting event. Elvis
Costello's "Pump it Up" is not a song that will put your infant child to
sleep. Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" is an obvious choice for seduction,
but you can get creative with what works for you and your partner. Sit
down and talk about how certain music makes you *feel*, and you can build
and personalize your own soundtrack.
Try to remain open minded and broaden your horizons in order to maintain
a stimulating environment. This doesn't mean you have to radically change
your life; in fact, gradually changing your environment will manifest bigger
and better changes in all facets of your life. Having choices in your life
enables you to approach trying situations with a plan. My friend now has
only calming music in his car in anticipation of his road rage.
Our personalities are constantly shaped by the environment. Some of
that is uncontrollable, but some of it can be regulated to achieve a desired
result. If you find yourself constantly aggravated, tired, or depressed,
change the station. Pop in a new CD. Control your environment with hopes
of controlling yourself.
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