I'd like to introduce you all to my first guest writer Lisa from Mind & Body Intertwined. Lisa is a fellow health/wellness writer who mainly focuses on how you can attain an overall balanced lifestyle, she is an amazing blogger who shows her love and passion of this topic through her writing. Please go check out this amazing writer's blog here. 🥰 This week, Lisa will be discussing why we listen to music and the overall impact it has on us. Enjoy and always peace and love ✌🤍
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.
Let the music guide you
I’ve always thought that music had to have a certain effect on the psyche of people. This is not only due to the texts, but also because of the sounds itself. One of the funniest examples of a misfit of this for me was on a Dutch tv-program. They were doing a garden make-over and in the background, you could hear the happy sounds of Michael Bublé’s ‘Beautiful Day’. This song sounds very positive at first. However, if you listen more closely, he’s singing about how his day is beautiful because he got rid of his horrible ex. Not really fitting for a make-over show. The sound of the song lets you immediately believe that he is very happy. It makes you assume the reason for this a more positive one than it actually is. But what is it that makes us feel so cheery when we hear this song that we forget to actually listen? To understand this, we first need to dive into the basics.
What is music?
Objectively speaking, music is a couple of sounds following each other up. These sounds are made by soundwaves, which are mere vibrations of air. Our ears catch these vibrations and guide them to our brain, where they are translated into sounds. Our brains also tie a meaning to those sounds, which are often tied with emotions and associations. And those can stir our behaviour. By knowing what sounds can do what to your brain, you can use music to stir your own behaviour.
The first way we can use music is to make us more concentrated. There are many albums and playlists made to heighten your concentration and quite often, it’s classical music. Part of the reason classical music gets chosen is because there are no vocals. Vocals can be distracting, since the brain is wired to try and understand spoken language and it would keep a part of your attention away from what you are doing.
Another is the relatively complicated combinations of sound you can find in classical music, which is said to activate the brain. Some waves even seem to have a physical effect on the brain. Even more importantly, classical music draws out any other sounds, which calms your body and brain. This is likely caused by the rhythm of the music, that is exactly the same as a healthy, calm heartbeat and your body will adjust to that rhythm. That classical music helps you study and work is also called ‘The Mozart-effect’. Here is a Spotify playlist I tend to use whenever I need to concentrate.
A part of the Mozart-effect is also a heightened sense of memory. For this, there are also multiple reasons, starting with association. By coupling a melody to an idea, it’s easier to remember it. Think of the little rhymes we learned as kids to tell us what to do. This is where the first tip comes in: if you need to remember something, make a song out of it! We all know the song ‘It’s a small world after all’ from Disney and once it’s stuck inside your head, it’ll never come out again, so use this principle!
This memory trick is a very conscious process, but have you ever heard of the Pavlov effect? The short explanation is that if you combine a certain event to a stimulus, the stimulus will after a while be enough to set the event in motion. So, not only will you be able to consciously think back of certain things, you can also conjure op emotions. Personally, I can hold up pretty well when I’m sad, but that can make it harder to let go of my emotions. Music will help me release that sadness better. Also, I’ve trained myself to get sleepy when I hear certain songs, which will help me sleep better when I need it. Another way I use this is to listen to happy, upbeat songs whenever I need to feel happier or social.
Flow into the rhythm
Another important aspect of music is rhythm. You might have noticed that a lot of gyms have a certain type of music on: no complicated lyrics and relatively fast beats that follow each other up. This is, so you can hold on to that rhythm when you’re doing your exercises, but also to guide your heartbeat into a slightly faster rhythm, which is great for exercise.
Another way this is used is by a playlist on Spotify that is called ‘Songs to do CPR to’, with the most famous one ‘staying alive’ from the Bee Gees. When performing CPR, it’s vital that you have the right rhythm, but the adrenalin is likely to speed you up too much and after a while, you’ll get tired and you’re likely to slow down. Songs on this playlist can help you to keep up the right speed.
How to use this
There are some tips sprinkled around this post, but the main point of this article was to make you more aware of the effects that sound can have on you. Although you might love punk (which I do), if you want to calm down and relax, Ed Sheeran might be a better fit. If you need to blow off some steam however, punk might be the perfect fit! A thing I like to do is therefore not to make playlists based on types of music, but on moods and situations. I’ve found this to be perfect when I need to get into a state (active, sleepy, happy, calm, focused). Directors also use music to stir us towards a certain state to understand the film better, so why not use it on yourself?
I hope this will help you a little in taking control of your surroundings and getting you in the right mindset for what’s ahead. If you liked this, please take a look or at my blog Mind and Body Intertwined and subscribe or follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for regular posts!
Lots of love,
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