(Above: my niece, myself and my niece’s best friend)
This past Saturday I attended a Dave Matthew’s Band concert for my thirtieth birthday, courtesy of my pretty kickass niece (love you kiddo!). Between the music itself, the band’s stage presence and Dave Matthew’s humor–the concert was absolutely phenomenal. I’ve never been to a DMB concert before. Even though they’re by far one of my favorite bands. It was on my to do list for 2014, but that’s another blog post altogether.
Think about the last time you listened to your favorite song. It doesn’t matter what type of music it was; new age, hard rock, EDM, Motown, classical, etc. Think of how that song made you feel. What emotions were evoked, thoughts that came to mind. That in itself speaks volumes about the power of music. It can be used to elevate one’s mood to a booty shaking, hip swaying, feel good euphoria. Music also has the ability to bring about a completely opposite reaction.
There have been numerous studies on how music effects the brain for different activities. Music has the ability to effect everything from how your body responds to a workout to productivity and mood elevation. Music has been shown to effect the cognitive learning ability of children for the better. Music has been proven to help the human body heal in a more natural state as well.
Which brings me to why I wanted to blog today. This is just my own personal opinion, keeping in mind that I’m no doctor. But I am a cancer patient going through chemotherapy treatments and I do know what has worked for me when my doctors had no idea how to treat my symptoms holistically.
One thing I believe in whole heartedly, is that maintaining an optimistic attitude is so critical to overcoming life’s little road bumps. I’ve been very fortunate since my own cancer diagnosis, as far as surgery and treatment goes. My side effects have mostly been minimal.
But I know there are many cancer patients out there struggling to survive. They are tired of the treatments, surgeries, bloodwork and all of the hospital visits. They are tired of not being able to live the fullest life possible because of the constant dis-ease of their body.
This journey is not an easy one. I know because as minimal as my side effects have been, there have been times when I wanted to give up on treatments. I wanted to quit chemo after session six, session seven. When session eight came I was ready, and I now have only four treatments left. So my heart goes out to you fellow cancer fighters, no matter the type or stage of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with. My heart goes out to your loved ones. The spectators who stand by your side, accompanying you to chemo, or picking up groceries for you, doing housework and helping you with all that you are simply too exhausted to do. Give thanks for those people, the ones who silently fight alongside you, pray for you, pull for you, fight with you, give thanks for them. They are just as important, if not more so, than any modern chemical therapy an oncologist tells you your body needs.
Back to maintaining that positive attitude. On days when I’m too exhausted, not in the best place emotionally, too tired to get to the gym–I have a go to playlist of songs that reach into my heart and make it beat steady again. These songs are the ones that make me want to get up off the couch and dance. Dance with my children, be a silly goofy goober with them. They make me smile, make me laugh but most of all? They elicit joy within my soul. If you can find one song that makes you feel that way and just hold on to that feeling for as long as possible, I guarantee the world will seem a little brighter. Even if it’s only for that moment, for those few hours, for that day–hold onto it.
These are some of my personal favorites. There’s no order in particular, they all bring me joy when I listen to them. Or make me want to run to the gym! I know these won’t appeal to everyone, considering I’m a thirty year old female with a widely eclectic taste in music and two small children. Some of the songs appeal to an eight-year-old’s taste, others to that of my three-year-old. But hopefully it will inspire someone out there to create a playlist of their own. I’m also posting a few links in reference to the study of how music can effect the mind/body.
*Dave Matthew’s Band “Crush”
*Michael Franti “I’m Alive”
*Colbie Caillat “Brighter Than the Sun”
*One Republic “Marchin’ On”
*Bob Marley “Three Little Birds”
*X Ambassadors & Jamie N Commons “Jungle”
*AJR “I’m Ready”
*Queen “We Will Rock You”
*Imagine Dragons “On Top of the World”
*War “Low Rider”
*The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army”
*Matisyahu “One Day”
*Imagine Dragons “Ready Aim Fire”