Don’t Worry, Be Happy

T en-time Grammy Award winner Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 hit song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” may have had a great many people dancing in the aisles, but unfortunately the happiness wore off. After all, there is a biochemistry underlying happiness, and it involves the promotion of the dopaminergic reward system, something a song is not likely achieve or to sustain, especially as the music becomes more familiar.

The lead article in this issue of Life Enhancement involves the biochemical mechanisms of reward and happiness. If you feel rewarded for the things that you accomplish, you are likely to accomplish more. Given that this enhancement can be achieved through a single supplement is the height of what could be called productivity enhancement, which is a main part of our mission here in Minden, Nevada.

Back to dancing in the aisles: Music is an art form that exists in every culture around the world. Indeed, it is integral to social and courtship activities, and almost always associated with dancing. In a study done at the University of Pavia in Italy a few years ago, neuroimaging allowed researchers to investigate neural processing and perception in the brain.*

Remarkably, music was shown to activate specific pathways in several brain areas associated with emotional behaviors that include the hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, insular and cingulate cortex, and the prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, neurochemical studies suggest that several biochemical mediators, such as endorphins, endocannabinoids, nitric oxide, and dopamine may play a role in the musical experience. Among its other virtues, dopamine is a motor mechanism neurotransmitter.

In fact, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that music therapy could be useful in the clinical management of numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders. Indeed, music therapy could be adjunctively effective in patients with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. In addition, it might prove effective as well in psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and autism spectrum disorders. However, there is little rigorous data supporting the clinical applications of music therapy at this time and the Italian study was published nearly 8 years ago.

Nonetheless, since I’ve been using Greater Rewards over the last month or so, I’ve found myself breaking out into dance frequently, even occasionally when no music is playing. May this be the same for you, dear reader! We could be moving into a better world where happiness is more common.

Live long and prosper,

Will Block

* Boso M, Politi P, Barale F, Enzo E. Neurophysiology and neurobiology of the musical experience. Funct Neurol. 2006 Oct-Dec;21(4):187-91.

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