I was talking with someone the other day as he described the impact music sometimes had on him. He has a history of liking pretty heavy music and was noticing that when he played it he would find himself getting frustrated or angry.
Our conversation continued as we explored some of what was going on and whether or not that anger was already there or if it was something the music brought on independently.
It was quite an interesting to try and figure out if when he was “in the mood for hard music” it was because of underlying anger or simply a mood.
I know that there are times where I will be skimming through radio stations as a drive and say to myself “not in the mood for that” but I also notice that different music can have different impacts on my mood and state of mind. This past lent season I decided to do something different, I chose to give up all music that wasn’t “Christian” content. It didn’t matter if the music was neutral or even if it has a good message, if it didn’t include Jesus on some level I didn’t listen to it.
The results were, that even when I wasn’t “in the mood” for that kind of music, putting it on would direct my thoughts and often calm my spirit.
Even before this experience I noticed that I would occasionally put music on when I was already in a state of anger, and I would put it on with the intention of letting off steam. Usually though, this only added to the steam, it didn’t actually release very much of it.
I realised that allowing my mood to determine what I listen to was like letting the music control me, allowing it to determine how I would feel and allow it to foster my feelings for good or for bad, whatever those feelings might be.
You may be thinking that this isn’t so bad right? Like what if I’m in a romantic mood and choose love songs and find myself more loving and kind to my wife when I get home? That can’t possibly be bad could it?
No, I don’t think it is, but there is a flip side to that. What if I’m frustrated and I put on heavier music on the way home from work? My intentional may be to let off steam, but realistically I walk through the door still wound up and frustrated, which in turn causes me to take some of that frustration out on my family.
I believe that we are entirely capable of determining our mood and attitude if we only choose to pick music based on the mood we WANT to be in rather than the one we are in.
What if, instead of allowing music to determine our mood, or our mood to determine our music, which in turn controls our mood – we choose music based on the mood we knew we needed to have and are choosing to have in that moment?
Its kind of the same thing as obedience when it comes to our children. They could “choose” to disobey because they don’t feel like doing what they have been asked, or they could choose to obey because they know its best and they know what the results will be.
The option is yours, move ahead and let music control you or use music as a tool to determine your direction, the state of your mind and body and essentially your mental and emotional health.