I discovered recently that not everyone knows about an earworm. Merriam Webster defines it as “a song or melody that keeps repeating in one’s mind”. While we may not know the definition, this experience is one we’ve all suffered.
Earworms cause all kinds of reactions. Likely, the most common response is annoyance – from mild to severe. Occasionally, an earworm brings joy, and sometimes spontaneous body movements that might be akin to dancing.
Whatever your reaction, earworms are like hiccups – they only appear spontaneously. Attempting to force an earworm rarely results in an actual earworm. I’d be interested in the science of this, so if you have experimented outside a lab, share the results.
Pondering the impact of earworms, I believe there is another “worm” that infects us. Contemplate for a moment, the effect on your soul when something unexpected infiltrates – let’s call it a joy soulworm. It might be something wonderful your mother once told you. It might be the meaning of some words of a song you heard at a concert that gave you chills. Of the many joy soulworms I’ve collected, descending to 10,000 feet in a 747 over the Australian desert to view Uluru (Ayers Rock) from directly above is an image that regularly brings back chills and joy.
A recommended approach to ending an earworm is to chew gum. Obviously, it’s not recommended to interrupt a joy soulworm – they deserve to be revisited regularly. When they reappear, recognize them, take a moment or several of meditation to swim in that joy, and take a new positive step forward in your day.
Once you begin to recognize your joy soulworms, they’ll appear more often and more will appear. Dive in.