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Those Songs You Were Obsessed With In Middle School Really Can Change Your Life, And There's Science To Prove It

Yes, "Hollaback Girl" and "I Want It That Way" can have the same exact impact on an individual.

Those Songs You Were Obsessed With In Middle School Really Can Change Your Life, And There's Science To Prove It

No matter who you are or where you come from, music impacts your life in some way. It may be your passion in life, your secret weapon for actually studying the right way, or just the background noise for when you're driving. Either way, music can be a helpful tool and makes a boring time a thousand times better. We all know this, of course, but what if music could also be used to transport you back in time?

For example, my sisters and I were driving home from the movies tonight when she was shuffling through her Spotify library. "Six Feet Under The Stars" by All Time Low started playing, and she immediately stated how this song brings her back to her teenage years. I proceed to comment about how I remember her blaring this song pretty often since the lyrics and rhythm are somehow familiar to me.

Another example: Rewind to almost a week ago where I attended a Harry Styles concert, and while waiting anxiously for him to come out onstage, an old song by the name of "Olivia" started to play throughout Madison Square Garden. This was not just any song, but one that was released three years ago from a little well-known group called One Direction (the band Styles was/is a part of), and you can bet I jumped up from my seat and scream-sang the lyrics like everyone else did in the same room. It immediately brought back the feelings I had when attending two 1D concerts a couple years ago — AKA my early teen years — and all the memories and happiness of being a huge fangirl came flooding back in those three minutes.

These are just two of the countless encounters that people all around the world go through every day when they hear a song from their youth. It automatically brings back memories from either the first time they ever heard the song, a distinct memory in which the song played an important role, or reminds you of the feelings you felt when listening to it- or it could include all of the above. Either way, no matter what kind of music the song may belong to, it still has the power to take you back to a time that led you to the present.

There is no doubt that these kinds of songs had the power to make an imprint on your brain, which also means it also could have had the great effect of influencing you. I'm not just talking about your future music tastes, but about affecting the process of your growing up, per se. You may not have realized it back then, or even now, but the music you listened to around 12/13 years old really did have an impact on the person you would choose to become. It had an influence on the decisions you were making, your outlook on life, your morals, or even made you realize that music was a passion you wanted to invest in. Not only the music, but the people behind the songs also made an impact on how you chose to behave, dress and view the world around you.

Don't just take my word for it- there are actual scientific studies that prove musical nostalgia is a neuronic command. Neuroscientists have confirmed that songs have a disproportionate power over our emotions and that there is a forever bond with the music you listened to when you were younger. While listening to the lyrics and instrumentation of a certain memorable song, it activates your parietal cortex, which helps you shift and maintain attention to different stimuli- and when a song triggers personal memories, your prefrontal cortex, which maintains information relevant to your personal life and relationships, will jump into action.

The reason why music holds such an important place in a lot of people's hearts is because it carries emotion within it, and brain imaging studies show how music is one of the strongest things that create something called "neurochemical bliss" for our brains. When listening to a favorite song, the brain's pleasure circuit is stimulated, and that ultimately releases chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and other neurochemicals that make us feel good (and these are the same neurotransmitters that cocaine chases after).

Yes, music is that powerful.

This neurochemical process happens throughout our lives when listening to music we love, but it is during puberty when this brain activity is heightened to insurmountable levels. Researches say that "between the ages of 12 and 22, our brains undergo rapid neurological development—and the music we love during that decade seems to get wired into our lobes for good. When we make neural connections to a song, we also create a strong memory trace that becomes laden with heightened emotion, thanks partly to a surfeit of pubertal growth hormones. These hormones tell our brains that everything is incredibly important—especially the songs that form the soundtrack to our teenage dreams (and embarrassments)."

Even Daniel Levitin, who wrote his own book revolving around this phenomenon, explains how this music we listened to in adolescence is attached to our social lives because it became something like a badge for us in our youth. Music is one of the first things we discover on our own, and when it leads us to the friends we make and decisions we decide to make, those songs become forever important to us. He also cites how there may be another factor that music triggers called "the reminiscence bump," which explains the phenomenon that we remember so much of our younger adult lives more vividly than other years, and how those memories last well into our senescence. This music doesn't just remind us of the good and bad times of our youth or contribute to the development of our personal self-image — it becomes part of it as well as the sense of self.

I've always believed that (besides love) music is the closest thing humans have to magic. It can change our mood in an instant, create a picture right before our eyes, capture a particular emotion within a couple of minutes (in which nothing else could ever achieve), and even transport us back to "the good old days."

You may have grown out of this music now, or barely even listen to the same songs anymore, but one thing is for sure: when it does come on, you are immediately catapulted into the realms of nostalgia. You may have also not had the clearest mind when choosing to listen to these songs voluntarily, but it goes without saying that those songs helped made you who you are today, and that is nothing short of magical.

To read more on this study, go here:

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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