Has it ever happened to you that something got stuck in your mind and you can’t seem to get rid of it? When you listen to a catchy song, you start murmuring it or ruminating on it throughout the day. The same thing happens when something unusual has happened that is linked to someone. How to get someone out of your mind? Well, it is quite tough to get rid of such unnecessary thoughts and make your mind free. Isn’t it?
How can you get rid of such annoying things? What is the unique way that we can follow and make it easier to forget those things? It is a tricky question as our brain is a very complex organ. Yet, there is hope. Let us find out how our brain behaves when something gets stuck in our minds.
Imagine you wake up and your mind is fresh at the beginning of a day. Suddenly, you hear someone in your home or your neighbourhood playing the famous Macarena song! It is an extremely popular song recorded and released in 1994. The song is extremely catchy and makes people remember the tune for a long time.
It might happen that this song creates an impression in your brain that you cannot get rid of. The music will continue playing in your mind like an unstoppable record and you will be unable to switch it off. How irritating can this be? You will not be able to concentrate on your studies properly.
You will forget to murmur it in the back of your mind only when you are extremely distracted or engaged in something. What exactly happens to our brains? To explain it, a unique term was coined called an earworm.
Don’t worry! It is not a disease or a pest crawling in your ears. That will be really disgusting, creepy and alarming. An earworm is just a part of your brain recording and playing something repeatedly without your control.
You are not alone in this world carrying this unique property of the brain. 9 out of 10 people have experienced such things for ages. You will find the reference to earworms or similar brain functions in many famous pieces of literature. It is a common thing and that is why it got mentioned multiple times.
The term ‘earworm’ emerged in the 1970s even though the phenomenon existed and was recognised hundreds of years ago. Mark Twain, one of the best novelists in history, mentioned such things in his novel named ‘A Literary Nightmare’. He mentioned a jingle that affected many like a virus. People could not get rid of the jingle. Everyone thought that I am out of my head, out of my mind.
Even though it has been recognised and existed for centuries, neuroscientists and researchers are unable to find the exact physiological reason behind it. They are unable to conclude the reason but have developed multiple theories around it.
Scientists consider an earworm as mental imagery where a person can imagine things from his past experiences. He can use those experiences to formulate an image and think of it in the back of his head.
They explain that the same thing happens when we listen to an unusual yet attractive piece of music. For instance, we think of our favourite desserts after eating a hearty meal. We can see the desserts when we close our eyes. The same thing happens when you listen to a song and the brain starts imagining it. This unexplained phenomenon is called Involuntary Musical Imagery. In short, it is coined as INMI.
Assume that you have been on a jungle safari. For the first time, you have been deep in nature. No sounds other than natural ones you have experienced on that trip. Birds chirping, winds flowing, rivers cascading and a natural silence create a remarkable ambience in your memories. When you recall these memories, they will start playing in the back of your head. Similarly, you will find a piece of music playing in the background when you are attracted to it unwillingly.
The impression created by the music in your auditory cortex, the place that controls your ear functions, will emphasise your brain to create imagery and you will listen to the tune for a longer time span.
Songs Playing in Your Mind
This is not a harmful thing but it might be distracting you a lot. In some cases, this phenomenon can be very supportive in increasing your concentration. Let us find out how you can get rid of a catchy tune and not tell everyone I am out of my head, out of my mind.
Try to distract yourself with something you enjoy. For instance, watch your favourite channel for a while or a cartoon series.
Indulge seriously in something that takes your mind off. For instance, count the steps when you climb a staircase. You will need serious concentration for this.
Try calling your friend and have a nice chat. It is better to give him/her a video call so that you can engage most of your senses. It will help you forget the tune.
Stop overthinking or mentioning the problem to someone close. It will reprint the tune in your head. Avoid talking about it.
Listen to your favourite playlist and engage in doing something. In this way, your auditory cortex will start recording songs that you are accustomed to and will delete the earworm.
This is what happens when a song is stuck in your mind. People also feel irritated when a person is stuck in their heads too. Try these unique ideas to get rid of such earworms and refresh your mind from this unnecessary stress.