What could you learn about yourself if you could peer into your brain and see what it looks like when you are listening to your favorite music?
We all intuitively know how good it feels to get in our car, turn on the radio, and hear our all-time favorite song. But imagine being able to power up your brain with that clean, positive energy at will, anytime and anywhere, without negative side effects. Now imagine being able to think more clearly than usual, with a heightened perception of your surroundings, and being able to reach that state whenever you need to, wherever you are. It doesn’t matter if your musical taste is Luciano Pavarotti, Bono, Billie Holiday, or Muse. You can achieve this state, and this book will show you how.
There is much new scientific research to document the profound influence of music on your physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. In fact, whenever people come together for weddings, funerals, graduations, sports, worship, recreation, romance, dinner, or entertainment, music is there. Independent of our backgrounds and beliefs, our customs and traditions, music has a primary role in all aspects of our lives.
Historically, rhythm, music, and song have been used as a way to tune the mind, to heal the body, and to strengthen the spirit. Music is even viewed today as a way to connect to the universe itself. Not surprisingly, the core features of music are RHYTHM, HARMONY, RESONANCE, SYNCHRONY, and DISSONANCE (see glossary for definitions of terms), and those are the same processes the brain uses to coordinate its activities and carry out complex behaviors. This is why music can have such a profound effect on us.
Thanks to several new advances in neuroimaging technology, we now know that music affects every part of the brain and has the potential to exert powerful influence over its control systems. And because those systems regulate much of our thought processes and goal-directed actions, music can influence our perceptions, emotions, memories, neurochemistry, and ultimately our behavior. In the long term, music can begin to change how our higher brain systems operate by increasing our ability to adapt to stress and allowing us to evolve a new way of thinking, one in which you can use music as a support mechanism in all that you do.
Your Playlist Can Change Your Life is an attempt to take something we all already love—music—and view it through the lens of revolutionary, frontier neuroscience, which has opened a treasure chest of new and exciting ways to use the incredible elixir of music to enhance our daily lives.
Did you know that:
Most important, music can be used to trigger various mental states that range from being highly focused and vigilant to feeling an all-encompassing calm and relaxed attitude, all without having to use harmful drugs.
All you need to do is choose a playlist that activates the brain networks that will meet your demands and hit the play button. Your playlist will unlock your brain’s hardwired musical remedy, ultimately putting you in your best mind-set to meet your goals. In short, you can use your self-prescribed personal playlist to achieve a higher level of mental functioning and to enhance your well-being in all that you do. Based on many years of research as well as new research that is not available anywhere else, Your Playlist Can Change Your Life will provide you with scientifically proven, step-by-step methods to use your favorite music to enhance your health, memory, organization, alertness, and more.
Today there is a burgeoning demand for personalized health care and wellness. People want information that is suited to them, solutions that are natural and effective. In this spirit, we’re bringing our unique blend of expertise in NEUROPSYCHIATRY, NEUROPHYSIOLOGY, COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE, psychology, brain research, clinical medicine, and human performance improvement to bear in this book. We are on a mission, of sorts, to bring you a scientifically proven, self-regulatory program that uses one of life’s greatest pleasures—music.
Ultimately, you will get a glimpse of what goes on in your own brain when listening to your favorite playlist, and you will learn how to use the power of music to stay mentally sharp and focused, with increased rates of performance and with an enhanced ability to fight off stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and even addiction.
Your Playlist Can Change Your Life will take you to the frontiers of medicine, neuroscience, psychology, and personalized health care straight into a world of sound, rhythm, music, and song. It will unleash a seemingly magical force within your own brain that is capable of wielding great synergy within your body as well as your mind.
We speak as one voice in this book, but you’re actually reading the combined experience and expertise of three people: Galina Mindlin, MD, PhD; Don DuRousseau, MBA; and Joseph Cardillo, PhD. You can read more about us on page 231, but we want to give you an idea of who your tour guides will be on this journey.
Galina is Your Playlist’s lead scientist. She is a founder of BRAIN MUSIC THERAPY (BMT) in the United States (you’ll read more about BMT in chapter 10).
Don brings his unique blend of neuroscience and business expertise to Your Playlist. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Human Bionics, LLC, and the executive director of Peak Neurotraining Solutions Inc.
Joseph is a top-selling author in the fields of health, mind-body-spirit, and psychology. He has a doctorate in holistic psychology and mind-body medicine. He has taught at various universities, including the University at Albany and Hudson Valley Community College.
How to Use This Book
Each chapter presents one of ten scientifically proven ways that music can help you heighten your level of peak performance and achieve better health and harmony in your day-to-day living. You will learn how to:
We discuss in the pages of this book a wide variety of individuals who are using music to train their brains and enhance their lives. We intentionally focus on the usefulness and application of our research within the worlds of office workers, businesspeople, athletes, romantic partners, students, parents, the young, and the aging—you, all of us. Your Playlist Can Change Your Life is our attempt to home deliver frontier science to the widest possible audience so that we can all start benefiting from the great and beautiful life-enhancing powers of music.
Each chapter concludes with exercises intended to help you apply its concepts and techniques in a wide variety of life situations. To experience the full benefit of these activities, repetition and practice—which is the hallmark of any good training regimen—are necessary. Thus, the more often you practice, the more automatic and powerful the effects of both the exercises and the music will be.
Because no two people’s experiences are exactly alike and each person’s needs and tastes differ, we have designed the exercises to help you personalize your own playlist to match your individual goals. Feel free to adapt or modify either of them at any time. Experiment—and most of all have fun.
Your Playlist Can Change Your Life is not a guidebook—it is designed to be read and applied at your own pace. You can move slowly through its pages, allowing yourself time to absorb the many techniques that each chapter offers. You can also read through quickly and then return to those chapters most appropriate to your current life situations. Most information in this book is easy to absorb. But again, the concepts and techniques here require practice as you experience different pieces and types of music and glean for yourself the most benefit from a particular playlist.
For your convenience, we have included a glossary of musical and scientific terminology. Terms that are bolded in the text are included in the glossary.
The process of learning to nurture ourselves with music is a riveting one. If used successfully, Your Playlist Can Change Your Life will help you cleanse your mind of negative and unwanted thoughts and emotions, thus making it easier for you to reach personal goals, to maintain alertness, or to achieve an all-encompassing calm. You will think more clearly. You will feel more relaxed. You will enjoy greater mind-body synchronicity and feel more tuned to your goals. And you will gain more confidence in your ability to achieve personal wellness. Many amazing things will likely occur. May the concepts and techniques described within these pages serve you well; they have for each of us!
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