- Frederick Rickmann
Humming to Happiness
I am fascinated by the kind of scientific research projects that examine completely normal things that are plainly obvious to most people. The most recent example I found was that when people are happy, they often hum a tune. Like, me, you might find that was so obvious that it didn't merit any research at all. Everyone knows that.
However the research not only delved into the facts but also the reasons for this being so. Apparently the tunes we hum have a certain effect on the brain. We use our vocal chords to create harmonic vibrations which in turn trigger responses of well-being and feeling good. In addition, the tunes we hum are memory links that correspond to positive experiences. So the accumulative effect is of cognitive benefit and physical harmony.
Well that might be a bit like pocket-book science. On the other hand, music therapy is a well-known method for curing some mental disorders. Therapists have known for a while that music has a cerebral effect and can often be used to help distress.
So back to the humming. Are you smiling while you are reading this? The researchers tried out the opposite way of doing things. Instead of humming when you are happy, can you do the reverse and hum to MAKE yourself happy. If the science is true, then this should be the case.
Well it seems to be true. Although the research programme had to recruit people and test them when they were sad or at least not happy. Not an easy thing to do as you can imagine. Probably the best thing is to try it out yourself. When you are not feeling up to the day ahead, find a song or a tune you like and hum it consciously. Let us know if it works for you.
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