You might have suspected that the right music – whether it’s thrash metal or Mozart – keeps you more focused or relaxed.
Now a trio of brain researchers have studied the effects of playlists on the brain, resulting in a nifty little book called Your Playlist Can Change Your Life. In the book’s 200-or so pages, they explain how to use specific playlists to alleviate anxiety, promote concentration, get happy or move into a flow state thanks to Brain Music Treatment or BMT.
If you can’t make it to New York for BMT therapy, for $9.99, you can also download a Common BMT File. Created from more than 2,000 people’s brain waves with the help of evidence-based BMT tech, they say it acts as a kind of aural “first-aid” before you get your own playlists together.
Intrigued (my current nightstand read is Mark Changizi’s excellent Harnessed about music and the brain), I talked to author Dr. Galina Mindlin about what playlists have the most impact, cleaning up your music collection and her current heavy rotations.
Cult of Mac: You mention in the book it’s better to start by perfecting one playlist, what kind of playlist has the most impact for people?
Galina Mindlin: You need more “brain power” to go into the relaxing lands of your mind than you do to enter its activating zone. What’s most important for each of us is to find our optimal functioning mindset, where we can simultaneously relax, enhance our focus, concentration and mood. Music could be a powerful, side-effect-free, enjoyable remedy helping us to create that desirable state of mind for the given moment.
I would recommend finding that song or sequence of songs that can generate your optimal mindset per specific situations. Make a variety of these; you can even title them. For example: Driving to Work, Preparing for a Speech, Working Around the House, Jogging, Going to Take a Test and so on.
CoM: What advice do you have for people who have playlists on a number of devices – iPhones, iPods, laptops, etc.?
GM: Yes, that is not easy, especially in a time when “devices” are becoming almost extension of our minds. I recommend synchronizing your devices and playlists. Then you can let your mind advise you, per situation throughout your day, as to which of your favorite relaxing pieces will relieve your anxiety or stress best for the moment, as well as which will energize and organize you, strengthen your emotions, and boost your memory…
We recommend charging up all your “devices” in advance with playlists you can use as the specific needs of your personal daily routines arise. And we highly recommend adding the ultimate brain music, BMT (Brain Music Treatment) to your playlists. This is music created from your own brain waves that you can download onto any iPod, MP3 or CD…By having all your playlists and your own BMT on your all of devices, you can carry your “best brain” with you wherever you go, whenever you need it, at the push of a button…
CoM: What’s your favorite playlist right now and why?
GM: My favorite continues to be my personalized BMT relaxing and activating tracks — not that I am specifically excited about how my brain sounds or anything. It’s more that these files are able to instantly relax me or sharpen my focus, depending on what I need at the moment. I have many variations of my Playlist list. These are just some examples of it I use at the moment.
· The sounds of ocean waves
· Imagine by John Lennon (I love these frequencies and lyrics)
· Uprising, by Muse
· I Am Sexy and I Know It, by LMFAO (this is cool if you are tired or your confidence has momentarily dropped. Also the 130 BPM puts me in an energized mode and, besides, the tune is simply funny.
I could go on and on with my Jogging, Driving, Before and After Work lists, but everyone has to find their own tunes to get the most benefit from their playlist.
CoM: You focus on music, but I sometimes use guided meditations to relax or fall back to sleep. Is this good or bad?
GM: I think you are right on! We know well that meditation is an effective way to bring us to that relaxing land of sleep. Also, just like using music, the more you practice meditation, the more you can increase not only your skill but its effects. So train your brain the same with meditation as you would with your favorite music. By doing this, your desired mindset will ingrain in your memory and, with continued training, your brain will start bringing it on, in the specific situations that you’ve targeted, all on its own!
You can read more about BMT research or download the universal file here.