With Love and Gratitude

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The Power of Music During Happy Times and Sad Ones

Words we might need to embrace during these times: "All is calm. All is bright."

Writing Christmas editorials or columns can either be a breeze or a challenge. This year journalists faced a particularly difficult situation.  Our season of joy was marked by sadness. Nonetheless, we must embrace hope for the future on this Christmas Day 2012.  Sing, smile, and sing again and take action. The Power of Music is an adaptation from my Providence Journal column.  It is followed by links to “Demand a Plan” and blogs by other PT authors writing about mental health -- as well as gratitude column links. Wishing you a glorious day!

The power of music to heal, to uplift

Music resonates within us. We sing and dance on air when we are in love. When romance is over, we might weep to the strains of “Time To Say Goodbye.” And what is most remarkable during the Twilight years is learning that music will awaken words and memories for people with dementia.

Music and its relationship to our brain is a relatively new science and yet the Library of Congress: Music and Brain series has already enhanced its concert series with what is defined as “new research at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and music.” The podcasts, available online, highlight scientists, scholars, composers, performers, theorists, physicians and psychologists.

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Joseph Cardillo, writing here, pointed out: “Music can be powerful medicine. It has been with us since our very beginning.” Cardillo is one of the authors of “Your Playlist Can Change Your Life:10 Proven WaysYour Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization, Alertness and More.” He reminds us that the first rhythm many of us heard was the vibration of our mother’s heartbeat. Adele’s Music Awakens Coma Victim, What Else Can Songs Do?

Christmas music

Music and song can heal the body and uplift the soul as well as set a mood. At Christmas we sing carols dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries with the traditional hymns “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “The First Noel.” By the 16th century songs  “O Christmas Tree” — which with “Silent Night” is one of the most popular of holiday songs became entrenched in our culture.

Saturday Night Live and a tribute to the children lost

We turn to music during times of joy, sadness and even shock. Saturday Night Live opened its show two weeks ago with the New York City Children’s Chorus.  Dressed in red, they sang “Silent Night, Holy Night.” The words, “Sleep in heavenly peace,” had special meaning as a tribute to the children and adults lost atSandy Hook School Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Perhaps the words that each of us might need to embrace during these times marked with joy to grief on the emotional spectrum are words of hope for the future “All is calm. All is bright.”  Music has the power to heal hearts and uplift the spirit, December 24, 2012, The Providence Journal

Demand a Plan

If we want the future to be bright for our children, perhaps we need to join forces with the A-listers who are demanding a plan to end gun violence. They have a special, though sad, message this Christmas.  As the Demand A Plan website noted, “A group of artists joined our effort to Demand A Plan and recorded a powerful, personal message.  Please take a minute to watch the video and share it with your friends and family.”

Mental health services

I encourage reading the following and all of PT's posts on the need for mental health services.

GRATITUDE: Have you read these? 

Copyright 2012 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

Rita Watson, MPH, is an Associate Fellow at Yale's Ezra Stiles College and a columnist for The Providence Journal.

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