In the 80s (yes, way back), I fell in love with the Go-Go’s song, “We got the Beat”. As the name implies, the song was not so much about the lyrics, but about the beat. In fact, I wasn’t the only one who loved the song (or at least the beat). It reached the number 2 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1982.
This song is one of my feel-good songs. It’s light and airy, and I want to get up and dance every time I hear it. It brings back great memories. It’s music magic to me.
Studies have shown that music works it magic on the elderly as well as those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. On one Alzheimer’s website, it cites the reasons that music helps:
In fact, we can all experience these benefits when we listen to the right songs.
Everybody Dance Now – C + C Music Factory (1990)
Not everyone works out, but it’s certainly encouraged. Even I have “jumped” on the band wagon, which is not actually a workout activity. Right now, I have worked my way up to using an exercise bike. It may not sound like much but I have the sweat to prove it’s doing something other than giving me a distinct aroma. My exercise process includes music which is what made me aware of just how much I missed listening to it. I like how it makes me feel and how much it motivates me to make me pedal a little faster. At some points, when it gets a little uncomfortable (the seat), I think of Kelly Clarkson’s song “What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes us Stronger” so I push through the pain.
Sometimes a song has such a great rhythm that you almost feel obligated to “Jump Around” – House of Pain (1992). The irony of the group name is not lost on me.
As the song, “Everybody Dance Now” tells us, sometimes we just have to dance. As a bonus, dancing is a form of exercise. No equipment is required. “Let the Music Play” – Shannon (1983) and get into the groove.
Just like music, exercise is something that can help with your mood. In fact, you technically get two mood boosters when you exercise to music.
Fight Song – Rachel Platten (2015)
In all of our lives, there comes a time when we need a fight song. Some feeling or event takes over our lives and we need to motivate ourselves to keep going. It could be an illness of some kind. It could be the death or sickness of someone close. It could be bullying. It could just be a series of everyday events that just seem overwhelming.
Sometimes we’re just a song away from feeling a little better and taking another step forward. It could be a fight song, a song that can be your motivator. It could be a song that takes you back to a place and time when everything seemed less complicated. Sometimes finding the right song is half the fun. Along the way you will find songs that you may have forgotten and the reactions they trigger in you.
I have to admit, when I was going through some difficult times, I didn’t think about turning to music to motivate me and make me feel stronger. I’m being reminded just how powerful music is and the impact can have on our minds and lives.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper (1983)
Sometimes I think we forget, especially as we get older and have more responsibilities, that it’s okay to have fun; in fact, it’s encouraged. We focus on our children. We focus on our jobs. We can get bogged down in our own lives until we get frustrated and angry. We may say we are too busy to have fun.
The problem is that sometimes our productivity is not nearly what it could be if we just took the time to have a little fun. It doesn’t mean you have to organize a night out on the town. There are little things you can do that may seem silly until you feel the small joy that can follow. This feeling is how you will know, “I needed that.”
Why not put on some of your favourite music and dance or sing along? If you have small children, they will want to join you and will love seeing you have fun. If you have older children, they will roll their eyes at what you’re doing and that will add to your fun. You can even be productive and have fun. Get out your duster and give it a little extra flick or twirl. Put a little sway in your hips. It doesn’t have to be obvious to bring you a little joy. Sometimes making it your own little secret can add to the fun.
Believe it or not, sometimes I do this at work (but not with a duster). In the morning, when I go down to the cafeteria with one of my co-workers, the music will be on and sometimes it’s just one of those songs that requires a bit of movement. In some cases, one “cafeteria lady” will be doing a little grooving of her own. Sometimes you just have to join in or risk the song being stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
Sometimes you don’t even have to dance. There are times, if you’re lucky, a word or phrase will come to mind that reminds you of a song and you can have fun with it. For example, the other day I blurted the line, “Don’t look Ethel.” It’s a line from the 1974 (yes, even further back) song, “The Streak” by Ray Stevens. I don’t know why I said it. It’s not like I work with an Ethel, but I was fortunate that one of my co-workers knew the song, so she knew what I was talking about. At lunch, she looked up the lyrics so we could refresh our memories. We took turns reading some of the lyrics out loud and we laughed again. During the course of the afternoon, we took turns saying, “Don’t look Ethel” and we had a small laugh each time.
What surprised me most about this experience was how I felt afterwards. I had been struggling with some of the pressure at work and suddenly I felt like some of the weight of the world had been lifted. It didn’t really matter how long it lasted, the memory remains and every time it comes to mind, I smile again.
I’ve Got the Music in Me – Kiki Dee (1974)
And that’s the thing, sometimes we have to create our own music magic. We have to find the music that makes us feel good, invigorated and strong. We don’t all have the same playlist. We don’t all like the same songs. Music is very personal, which is why we have to decide how best to use this powerful tool. We’ve got to find the music in us and let it work its magic.
What music works it magic on you?
Send me the title of your favourite song and name of the artist (see Submit Suggestions boxes below) and I will update this blog post to help people develop/add to their playlists. Make sure you tell me under which category you would like your song added or maybe you want to add a new category.
Motivational and Fight Songs
Over 30-years of writing experience, about 10 years as a cancer survivor, and a lifetime purveyor of wit and laughter.
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