“Alexa: How Do I Mend a Broken Heart?”

How to Use Technology to Fix Your Mood

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I was the girl who worked as a cashier after high school to save money for vinyl albums. (I still have my collection.) I bought concert tickets and stole off to Madison Square Garden and other venues with my friends to see Elton John, the Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna, and eclectic classic bands. Earbuds had not yet been invented, but we all owned turntables and giant speakers. I remember the day my friend Fred discovered Springsteen and I went to his house with my bestie Beth to listen to “Greetings From Asbury Park.”

Fast forward to 2019. I was recovering from a deep and sudden wound, inflicted by someone I trusted and supported. So, I turned to my old friend — music. I committed to adding one new tune to my Amazon playlist every day and Alexa is serving as my new-age therapist, because “I haven’t got time for the pain.”

Music has been proven to help combat depression. It can have an impact on your brain waves and improve performance. Thanks to the miracle of voice recognition, I can just tell Alexa what I need and she plays just the right tune at the right time.

My Echo Spot alarm clock starts my day and I can calibrate my tunes to my agenda for the hours ahead. How you wake up in the morning can set the mood for the day.

Here are some tips, based on my experience over the past two weeks.

  1. Avoid songs that will reinforce a sad mood. For example, I found myself listening to “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” (both the English Beat and Andy Williams versions). “You’re So Vain” felt a little too angry (albeit true). I switched to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Yeah, it’s way overplayed, but it remains the anthem for resilience. But consuming a little sad music isn’t necessarily a bad thing, according to research.
  2. Play tunes that remind you of simpler and happier times in your life. The Kinks will always make me smile. The Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” compels me to dance around my apartment. And yes…I bought tickets for their concert tour. The mere thought of seeing Mick strut at 75 cheers me.
  3. If you’re a romantic (as I happen to be), find old tunes that warm your heart and give you hope for the future. I woke up today to “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Another mushy retro tune, “The Way You Look Tonight” gives me goosebumps.
  4. Explore new genres and artists. Ask friends for recommendations. My daughters’ influence has helped me develop an appreciation for country rock. Until I saw Bohemian Rhapsody, I had forgotten all about “Radio Ga Ga,” which was an interesting commentary on the evolution of media. Of course, you can also look at music sites themselves for recommendations and playlists.
Sometimes a little retro crooning can sooth the savage beast

I look forward to the day when Alexa will sense my mood (via facial recognition technology) and decide what tune best matches my moods and needs. In the meantime, I’ll simply, “put another dime in jukebox” (in the words of Joan Jett) and listen to “that kind of music just soothes the soul.” (Thanks Bob Seger!)

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