I knew from my research that listening to music is one of the most effective ways to boost your energy and mood (second only to exercise). In fact, in one study, 92% of people felt happier when they listened to music they liked. If you’re in a blues emergency, music is a great way to turn yourself around.
For a long time, I had assumed I liked music, because “everyone” did, but then realized I didn’t enjoy music very much (I thought). It’s one of my Secrets of Adulthood: “Just because something is fun for other people doesn’t mean it’s fun for you, and vice versa.”
I decided that I didn’t really like music much, and I thought this recognition was a mature, thoughtful embrace of “Being Gretchen.”
It has finally dawned on me that I do like music, but I like to listen to it in a very particular way. I don’t like to get a CD and listen to the whole thing. I don’t like a wide variety. I like to listen to my very favorite songs over and over.
I’ve always been slightly embarrassed by this propensity. I thought it showed a lack of sophisticated appreciation. It’s a Top-40 kind of mentality. I have no depth of musical knowledge, just familiarity with a handful of scattered songs. Plus, my taste in music runs to the slightly cheesy.
But I thought, “Be Gretchen. Listen to the music I like, the way I like.”
I bought my first iPod yesterday. The Big Man – who loves music – showed me how to load it. It’s very easy.
And now I’m so excited to listen to music. I’m in the process of hand-picking my favorite songs to put on the iPod. Perfect timing, because we’re going home to Kansas City to visit my parents, and I like to go running there, and running is so much nicer with music.
This project is giving me a huge boost even when I’m not listening to the music. I’ve noticed that making collections of your favorite things is a great way to get a jolt of happiness. Try it. Make an album of your favorite photos of your friends or kids; make a shelf of your favorite sources for your Ph.D. thesis; make a list of your favorite restaurants.
I KNOW listening to this music is going to make me happy – plus, it will probably make it more likely that I’ll go for a run, also a mood booster.
Incidentally, I would point to this incident as an example of the way money, used right, can give happiness support. I was very lucky to be able just to go out and buy an iPod when I decided I wanted one. Now that I have it, I’m sure it will give me a lot of happiness bang for the buck.
Next on my list of songs to download: Angie by the Rolling Stones.
(As a way to link to the songs, I’m linking via YouTube, which I hope is ok from a copyright standpoint [I am a lawyer, after all] but I think the videos distract, and detract, from the music.)
A great productivity/life hacks blog with a tech emphasis is The Cranking Widgets Blog. It’s a fun read, and although most of the tech hacks are over my non-techy head, I like being exposed to that stuff — I’m hoping it will seep in over time.
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