What’s one of the worst questions someone can ask you?
“Guess what song is stuck in my head right now?”
You just know they’re going to say something like John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.
You answer, “No. NO! DON”T tell me! I don’t want to know.”
But you know they’re going to have to tell you. And their earworm is going to breed babies in your ear. Ew.
An earworm is a song that gets stuck in your head like an infinite loop. Usually my earworms crawl in during the night. I tend to wake up with one that will hang around until my brain becomes otherwise occupied.
There are a few known ways to eradicate an earworm. Since I am hoping you are going to listen to the song at the bottom of this post, I thought it would be polite to offer you some options for ridding yourself of the pest.
- Listen to or sing the song, start to finish several times. As I understand it, one of the reasons these songs get stuck, is because of the typically catchy refrain, and because you don’t know the rest of the words. Thus your brain just loops the melodic chorus, without experiencing the closure of having the song end.
- Immerse yourself in a cognitive skill. Solve a Sudoku. Do homework. Update your résumé. Work on your blog. The brain is a restless organ, preferring to loop senseless music as opposed to nothing at all.
- Another method that I find extremely helpful and equally puzzling is to sing the tune quietly or silently in your head. When you reach an insignificant note, hold that tone for as long as you can. That is, until your brain finds something else it would rather do.
- Some people find some sort of relief in finding a different earworm, but I have never seen the sense in that. It’s like hitting your knee with a hammer to take your mind off a toothache.
- Meditation works by occupying your brain while stilling and silencing it at the same time. Yoga, as a kind of mediation, might work for you as it does for me. It takes a lot of brain power to concentrate your breathing, balance, posture and stamina. There is little room for singing “Walk Like an Egyptian” at the same time.
This song is my most recent earworm culprit. The problem is that the song is playing a lot on the rock stations right now. So by the time I have released the little bugger, as soon as I drive somewhere, it pops right back in!
So now this earworm is yours. Enjoy. Way down below . . . way down below . . way down below . . .
Peace . . .