I wrote this article for About Redlands recently. I thought I would share it here as well, check them out for all the best news around town.
Have you ever wondered why making someone a “mixtape” was an ’80s feel-good way to express yourself and let the truth come to the surface? (If you’re too young to know what a mixtape is, ask your parents J). Do you have a playlist that helps you get through: A tough workout at the gym? A low mood or anxiety about the presentation you’ll be giving in the morning at work? If music seems to me a magic healer, it IS, and you can use it for just about everything that needs mending. Here’s why:
You use both sides of your brain to process any and all types of music. This means the brain sections that access logic and the sections that manage emotions work together. Additionally, your pulse and heartbeat will automatically align with the rhythms and tempos of the music around you; the scientific term for this process is called Entrainment.
So, consider adding music to the prescription in these not so commonly thought of situations:
- At the dentist (or anywhere you feel afraid): Choose slow, soothing selections with minimal instrumentation and words to help restore your breathing in challenging scenarios. Lyrics activate our “thinking” brain, so pick ambient tracks to lower mental stress. Carry your play list in your phone so you’re always ready to implement.
- To ramp up productivity or wind down from the world: Most of us already sweat to the oldies, but how often do we use music to halt procrastination patterns or purposely slow our body rhythms in preparation for sleep? Play lists with a consistent back beat will literally move your body, so why not use music as an action step when the “to do” list is gathering dust? The human body is made of 90% water. Vibrations affect our blood flow and encourage the brain to release adrenaline, which helps us get going. Likewise, everything that blinks, breathes, or waves will respond to slower, steady rhythms and volumes. We sign off of the electronics at a certain time of night to signal to the body that sleep is near; either sign off music at a certain time or choose less stimulating sounds to begin shutting your active receptors down.
- Connect spiritually/use as a self-assessment tool: Do you find yourself humming a song you haven’t thought of in ages? Or responding strongly to a tune playing over the speaker in the supermarket? Take a moment to listen to yourself and to connect to something “Higher” than yourself. What significance does that song bring, what memory is triggered, what lesson is offered? We are our own best healers, especially when music is helping us along.