Have you ever heard a song come on and felt instantly happy? Whether that song has a connection to a good memory, is one where you know all the words, or just has a great beat, there’s a reason why music can trigger positive associations. Music has been a part of human cultures for centuries, and it’s one of few things that has any real necessary link to our survival other than sheer pleasure. Music tells a story, signals a rite of passage, and drives us to get down and dance!
Scientists have learned our connection to music is deeper than we may have originally thought. It turns out one of the main reasons people listen to music is because it genuinely makes them feel good! A neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal discovered music triggers neural activity in our nucleus accumbens – that’s the same part of the brain that releases dopamine, a pleasure chemical released during sex or while eating really good food. The better someone likes a song, the more this section of our brain lights up! So if you’re feeling the need for a perk, set down the coffee and pick a good song instead. Just in case you need a little help choosing a song to get you going, here’s a playlist of five great songs to jump start your day and the new year!