Music has the power to touch us deeply, to move us to tears, and to lift our spirits. It can make us nostalgic, sad, happy, motivated, relaxed, reflective, etc. Science shows music activates regions of your brain involved in movement, planning, attention and memory. It can release the brain chemical dopamine, which relieves anxiety and improves mood. Thus, music has the capacity to improve your attention span and memory, and to help in healing your mind and body. So, which songs should you listen to to get these effects? Songs with an upbeat tempo, a cheerful major key (rather than a gloomy minor key), and lyrics about fun events or love, are most successful at making us happy and having positive effects on our body and mind. Some songs scientifically shown to make people happy are “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys, “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees, “Dancing Queen” by Abba, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves, and “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel. But, as most things are, the way music affects us is highly personal, and also depends on our individual history (for example, a song that reminds you of childhood, or a happy time in your life, could evoke strong emotions of joy). A great way to learn what music makes you feel best is simply to pay attention to how you feel before and after listening to a songand if it makes you feel great, add it to a “Happy Songs” playlist for later!


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