Why does music have such a strong impact on how we feel? It's literally just a series of sounds put together in a certain order. How can something so seemingly simple make us happy or sad or scared or melancholy?
Research shows that listening to intensely emotional music can tap into deep, evolutionarily ancient circuits in our brain. Our relationship with music stretches back throughout human history and when dopamine is released from those deep circuits, the result is pleasure.
According to a study from the British Academy of Sound Therapy, it takes 13 minutes of music to help us release pent-up sadness, and nine minutes of music to help us feel happy. (It also takes 13 minutes of music to relax and 13 minutes to focus, in case you were wondering.) Nine minutes. That's all it takes for music to work its happy magic on us.
Music really is magical, isn't it? So are animals and kids, which is why those three things make up 90% of this week's list of things that made us smile. Seriously, can anything make us happier faster than music, animals and kids?
Maybe a great story about a sweet old man. Cool, we've got one of those, too.
Each week, we offer a roundup of smileworthy content to lift people's spirits and brighten people's days. If you find yourself smiling, pass it along to share the joy with others.
1. This wee one jammin' out with his broken ukelele and his adorable smile.
Oh that little foot tap! Bop, little one, bop.
2. Jax's "Victoria's Secret" is just the body-positive summer anthem we need.
I wrote a song for The Kid I Babysit. It’s called Victoria’s Secret 🤫 ❤️ 👙 @TheLascherFamily #victoriassecret #fyp #bodypositivity #originalmusic
Once you get past the "too fat and too flat" rage, this video is the best. I'd buy this single, seriously. (Read the full story about how Victoria's Secret really was made up by a dude here.)
3. A guy thinks he's rescuing a kitten. Then they just keep on coming.
Holy moly. It's like kitten heaven and kitten hell all at once. Robert Brantley, the man who found them, has been posting updates on their adoptions. Read the full story here.
4. When the parrot he rescued walked for the first time, his reaction is pure gold.
Hope you were prepared for that unbridled joy. Phew.
5. Her voice blew her fellow audience members—and the judges—away on "America's Got Talent."
Who would expect that voice to come out of an 11-year-old? Wowsers. Congratulations, Maddie. Read the full story here.
6. The difference between a cat and a dog, perfectly summed up in one video.
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Same animals, two different videos. The doggo lying down so carefully so as not to disturb his friend, and the cat literally standing on the dog before booping him in the face. Hilarious.
7. Who knew Chewy had the most compassionate customer service ever?
\u201c@alcesanna @Chewy I work at an animal shelter. This is legit. We often have people reaching out to donate because Chewy told them to reach out to a local shelter. I can\u2019t express what this means to shelter\u2019s like mine. Truly a gift.\u201d— Anna Brose, MSc (@Anna Brose, MSc) 1655267732
People in the thread shared how Chewy sent them flowers—and sometimes even a portrait of their pet—when their pet passed away, and always told them to donate the food they had left rather than return it. Read the full story here.
8. He took his grandpa with dementia to a football game and it turned out to be a day to remember.
Alzheimer's is such a hard challenge, and a reminder to cherish the time that we have with our loved ones. What a wonderful gift to give grandpa.
Speaking of cherishing time with our loved ones…
9. This little brother is so excited to see his big sister he can barely contain his little self.
"I'm so happy!" So. Dang. Sweet.
10. An adorable reminder to slather on the sunscreen this weekend.
Oh, raccoon. Could you be more delightful? (And seriously, don't forget the sunscreen.)
Animals, kids and music, I tell you. They'll make you smile every time. Come back next week for another roundup of joy and delight and have a fabulous weekend!