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Open Heart Melodies: Three Ways Music Can Impact Your Body


I love the way the right song can nurture my soul while soothing my mind. My playlist becomes medicinal and my earbuds serve as the IV drip--administering the perfect dosage of beats, rhymes and voices to rejuvenate my life. I'm sure many of us have a personal prescription of tunes designed to maintain our sanity, lift our spirits or summon our inner sexy.

Now there is clinical evidence touting the physical benefits of music. In a recent CNN article, a cardiologist has been researching the effects of music on the heart and concludes, "music may be one of the best de-stressors--either by playing or listening." The following three concepts demonstrate how music impacts your body as well as your soul and mind: 
  • However you choose to define it, good music has the power to heal 

  • In contrast, bad music can often contribute to the existing stressors in your life 

  • Listening to your favorite song over and over can lose its healing properties with each press of the 'repeat' button.
Foreign Exchange's "Daykeeper" is filled with the musical heat I need to melt away my blues. When listening to "good music," it relaxes our bodies and relieves tension. In addition to stress relief, studies have shown that good tunes can cause our bodies to release chemicals that protect our heart, open blood vessels and may reduce aging. 
On the flip side, "bad music" can have the same effect as that co-worker who gets on your last nerve or the idiot that cut you off on the highway. When that song by <insert obnoxious, flavor-of-the-month artist here> comes on and you say, "Oh hell no!" as you frown up and change the station--there's a chance your blood vessels have tightened up in response to that horrific sound. Too much stress can seriously disturb the sexy. 
So you've got your playlist going and there's that one song you absolutely must hear more than five times in a row. I'm sure you have more than one "go-to" song so keep your iPod on shuffle in order to bring the joy of a fresh, new song in your ear. As the good doctor stated: 
"Be careful what you listen to. Whether you like Beyoncé or the B-52sChopin or Johnny Cash, listening repeatedly to the same tune diminished the music's effects on the body." 
So what does all this have to do with soul music? Think of the happiness you feel, despite your circumstances, when the right song comes on by your favorite singer. Our affinity for artists like MaxwellAngie StoneRaphael Saadiq and Jill Scott isn't solely rooted in their aesthetics or album promotion. Their expressions are directly tied to our memories, our moods and our lifestyle. This music makes us feel good because it is truly good for us. 
Whether your diagnosis is work stress, family woes, finances or just getting through the day without slapping a bamma into next week--I encourage you to put together a fly playlist filled with the tracks that speak to the trifecta of healing your mind, body and soul. Be sure to stay away from songs that make your blood boil and fight the temptation to play your all-time classic into the ground. At the end of the day, you will be happier and healthier for it. 
 What song you would you prescribe first? Let us know in the comments.

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11 Responses

  1. EXCELLENT post!
    This echos my exact life-long sentiments. Music is a undisputed FORCE. A divine GIFT.
    As Marvin Gaye so poignantly sang: "Music is my heart and soul...More precious than gold!:"
    Nuff said.

  2. And, as far as a precription goes:
    Lalah Hathaway - "Breathe" is ALWAYS a great way to get to enhance the day!

  3. Cesaria Evora's "Sodade" always cures what ails me!
    On the flip side, "LOL Smiley Face" makes me cringe when I hear it!

  4. Its amazing to me tht (tee) knows of Cesaria Evora. Not many people seem to know of the cape verdean music scene. Also look for Sarah Tavares.

  5. "...fight the temptation to play your all-time classic into the ground." I'm taking that to heart because I've had Maxwell's entire discography on repeat, especially "drowndeep: hula." I need to back off so it won't lose its luster. That's why I love Soul Bounce. The site keeps me aware of the freshest music around.

  6. I am actually gonna spend my morning (at work) compiling such a playlist!
    I prescribe myself some Floetry, Lizz Wright, Jill Scott & Ann Peebles when I'm in need of a 'fix' to get me through!

  7. First and foremost Christian music is always in heavy rotation with everyone from the newest contemporary gospel artist, to old favorites like Kirk Franklin, Christifori, Reggae Praise.... guitarist like Carlos Babosa Lima, and Strunz and Farah...mixed with India Arie, Isreal, and Lauryn Hill. I enjoy a variety of artist, however I am cautious about the message in the music and what I allow in my soul/spirit.
    A lot of what's popular today is often lewed with little musical talent.

  8. @ Victor -- I'm definitely checking out Sarah Tavares. Thanks for the heads up.

  9. Further proof that the concept of "good" music is relative. Having said that, it's still fun to discuss and debate. It makes it fun to me. As long as we don't go too far with it. Music is a beautiful thing.

  10. In other news, is that stuffed toy used in the story purchasable somewhere? I love it.

  11. I prescribe: "Sun Moon Child" by Imani Uzuri. There's a great video to it done by the folks at Exit the Apple. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Evu2JMLwNak
    Next take a dose of "Peace Be Still," the version done by The Emotions in the movie Wattstax.
    Third, listen to Salif Keita and Cesaria Evora sing "Yamore," from Keita's CD Moffou.
    Guaranteed to heal what ails you.



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