Regular people: Extraordinary Happiness – what we can learn from the “Happy” video

Within the past week, you may have heard something about a 24-hour music video called “Happy.”  Rapper-producer Pharrell Williams recently released this video to the public which allows the viewer to skip around to different times of the day.  The upbeat video contains clips of a variety of people dancing and singing to the song while seemingly going about their daily lives.  In many instances, participants are walking through questionable neighborhoods at various times of the day, while onlookers stare at the spectacle of a freely joyful individual.

Why are the people in the video so darn happy, you might wonder?  In many cases their surroundings are less than stellar, and you might even question if they’d be about to get mugged in real life.  How do we separate ‘happiness’ from our financial state, geography, health, career, schedule, and/or support network?  The cliché answer is that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination or a tangible item.  But in order to approach that state of mind, you do need to make some very real shifts in your thoughts and actions.  Read on to find out how music and drumming could be the shifts you’re looking for.

Ever hear a song that made you feel you could totally take on the day? (mine is Good Lovin’ – whew, it gets me going!)  How challenging is it to stay energized after the song ends?  Listening to music can be a great mood lifter, but actually playing it (and dancing to it!) can have so many additional benefits.  How to do that in your already jam-packed life?  Well, where do you spend the bulk of your time?  If it’s at the office, then talk to HR about forming a wellness committee for the purposes of creating some stress relief drumming opportunities (like this organization did).  If it’s at home with the kids, then talk to other parents in your neighborhood about joining a family music program or creating one yourself.  If it’s in the car commuting – well, you’re just going to have to master the art of drumming on the steering wheel.  As the owner of Just Add Rhythm, of course I encourage you to contact me (or your local drum guru) to book some music and drumming events that will benefit your particular community.  It’s what I love to do!  But I recognize that we can’t all attend drum circles 24/7, and squeezing in you time can get pretty difficult.  So even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, find a way to connect with your inner rock star/opera singer/Tony Award winner and do something musical and rhythmic and social.

Your body and mind will thank you for it.  In addition to reducing stress and boosting the immune system, you can also lower blood pressure, help deal with grief, and improve your communication with others through music and drumming as a group.  Utilize your support networks to actively create some opportunities for happiness.  And if JAR can help, just say the word and we’ll be there!

chalk happy face


Share this:

Singing to your child can have musical and non-musical benefits

Parent child photoI had a parent tell me that her infant song loves to be sung to, even with her “tone-deaf voice.” Parents, listen up! YOUR voice is the most beautiful voice your child can hear, no matter what it sounds like. They don’t care if you can hit all the right notes; they respond to the resonance of the notes in your chest when you hold them close to you. Humming is especially helpful for them to hear AND feel. If you’re looking for lullaby time suggestions that are simple enough to learn, check out the following songs:

1. “Familion” by Hace Tuto Guagua (album: The Planet Sleeps)
2. “Godspeed” by the Dixie Chicks
3. “Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel)” by Billy Joel

Sing to your child; create rituals with them (at bedtime, bath time, meal time and play time) in which you can make up your own songs!  Starting these rituals early in childhood can have positive lasting benefits.

Share this: