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Feeling bright during long, dark nights

If you are like me, January feels long, especially when the beautiful twinkly lights come down and summer feels an age away. So I turn to music, as usual, to help me get through this time. We all know music makes you happier by releasing endorphins and sending happy dopamine to the brain, but it may feel like a real effort sometimes. My mam always says “put on music in the mood you want to feel, not what you currently feel”, so if you are feeling blue, whap on some something loud, bright and cheerful.

Music doesn’t just make you happier, it is also scientifically proven to help individuals think more clearly and get more done, a motivator. Obviously, taste in music is completely subjective, so whatever floats your boat. The Dutch neurologist, Dr Jacob Jolij, conducted a study, with the results showing that the best mood booster is a song in a major key, constating of between 140 and 150 beats per minute and either written about happy events, or about complete nonsense. The levels of dopamine released can be similar to those experienced after exercise, setting off a reinforcement reaction in your brain and body, which is recorded and “saved” as something that should be looked for and repeated. I believe this is why music has been such a huge part of our history and continues to be vital to human life, music literally begs us to replay it.

Another thing I always do, is put on some loud music, be it in the kitchen/living room, or car, and dance the silliest dance moves I can think of. Whatever level of dancing you feel like, even if it is just arms waving around like those car dealership inflatable people, I love those, will instantly make you smile.

Dr Yuna Ferguson, of the University of Missouri, claims that listening to 25 minutes of music a day, for 10 days with help to prevent back pain, as well as sleep better. However, this is only effective if one engages fully with it, not just sitting and having it as background music, that is why singing, even in a choir 😉 has such health benefits to enjoy.

I’d like to share a few of my go-to bangers with you, in the hope they become good songs for you;

  • Lovely Day by Bill Withers

  • Shout by Isley Brothers (or Lulu)

  • I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston

  • Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys

  • In The Mood by Glenn Miller (Doesn’t need words, I sing along the trumpet part, whilst sounding like a mad trumpet!)

  • I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross

  • Uptown Girl by Billy Joel

  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper

  • Best Day of My Life by American Authors

  • Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham!

  • Call Me Al by Paul Simon

  • I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers

Maybe it is just this time of year, but I always feel sentimental and reflective. Another thing I do is put on songs that remind me of great times, or great people in my life. These melodies trigger memories; places, spaces and faces. If we are lucky enough to have those people with us, let them know if this memory and have a chat about it, you never know, they may remember something different from you!

Other ways to help beat the January blues are to make the most of the daylight, go for a walk, or even stand outside (and take a coat!). Another lovely thing to do is dig out a good book, something new or an old favourite, but I love to get lost in another world sometimes, bringing the pages to life in my mind.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Particularly this time of year, look after yourself and those you

Written by Tiffany (CFG Director)

#ChoirsForGood #Community #FeelGood #DoGood #ForGood #Healthcare #Wellbeing #Singing

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