Music is a Bridge
It can move your soul, build memories, create connections with others. It is a universal experience for all humans. We may not all enjoy the same type of music, but cultures across the world have been creating and experiencing music for thousands of years. Some songs evoke emotions and memories that bring us tears, while others light a fire in our soul and push us to be the best we can be.
Studies have shown music to elicit both basic and complex emotions. Different parts of the brain can be stimulated by the various chords, tempos, and vocals which in turn cause us to shift our emotions in a certain direction. Music is often selected in a way to offer the listener “support, control, or change of the current state of experienced emotions (Thoma, Ryf, Mohiyeddini, Ehlert, &Nater, 2012)” – which is what we call emotional regulation. Emotional regulation allows you to control your temper, understand what you are really feeling, and lean into healthier coping mechanisms.
Brené Brown talks about music in some of her work about vulnerability. She talks a lot about showing up and being seen in our daily arenas. An arena is described as any area in your life that you wish to be more honest and authentic. For some their arena may be their workplace; others may have an arena with their family or their friends. Showing up and living an authentic life can be emotionally overwhelming. It can cause a ton of negative emotions to stir up – anxiety, regret, shame… just to name a few. To combat those emotions, she suggests finding a few powerful songs to help us guide our emotions in a braver direction. These songs become our “arena anthems.”
Anxiety and fear do not have to have control over your decision making. You have the power to choose how you feel and overcome those harrowing negative emotions. It can be as easy as turning on your arena anthem, jamming out, and taking that step into your arena of choice. This is a great place to start learning emotional regulation.
I’ve taken some time to find my arena anthems. I have two that seem to light a fire in my soul and make me feel invincible:
“Take Courage” by Bethel Music
“Don’t Let This Feeling Fade” by Lindsey Stirling.
When you find yours, share below! Let’s start a conversation and build an awesome playlist of arena anthems to share together!
Brown, B. (2016). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. London: Penguin Books Ltd.
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