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Is Your Playlist Directing Your Thoughts?


Is Your Playlist Directing Your Thoughts?


Have you ever thought that Pink Floyd can amplify your memory? Or that the Beatles can help you memorize a verse? Imagine Coldplay assisting you out in your math problems.

Sounds amazing, yet unimaginable, right?! Stupid, in fact.

But an article I read recently, changed my

Earlier, my relationship with music used to be like:

“Headphones in,
World is out.
Here I hit,
the play in my playlist.
I, now hum my pain away,
and push the worries to stray
I can drain my strain.
OH! Relaxed I can finally be,
As, it’s just my music, and ME!”

Be it getting through a rough day or bearing a boring lecture, music has been my go-to buddy.

I knew, like everyone else, that it could uplift my mood, but ‘altering my thoughts’?? Well, to be honest, I never realized it can have such profound effect on me.

The article that changed it all was published in the Scientific American, Music Can Change The Way You Think. It explained how people acquire a broader perspective of things after listening to a tritone. The perfect fifth, on the other hand, can restrict their interpretation.

Fans of Beatles know that the music interval in the opening phrase of ‘The Inner Light’ is a tritone. And every music lover can tell you that the first two notes of the Flintstones’ theme is the perfect fifth.

Listen to them, and you’ll know the difference. Rest, come along!

Music – A friend in need. Indeed!

music and moodWhen Georgia Cates said, “Music is what feelings sound like”, we all thought it was out of the love for music. Not much later than that, scientific studies began claiming that music, despite one’s mood or situations, triggers the same emotion in people all over. That’s true even for the instrumental![1]

Not only that, researchers believe that music primes our brain for other forms of communication, like language and speech, attention and retention and vocal expressions.[2]

A Track to Edge

Now that we are aware of the mischievous ways music influences us, why not use it for our own good. I’m not talking about plugging in to improve our mood or playing opera to mull things over, but to actually leverage the power of music in a way that we make our brain smarter and daily tasks easier.

Sounds exciting, right?

But how?

Well, continue reading and you’ll know.

1. Are you in a creative field? Does it require you to keep track of a lot of things? Does your boss expect you to deliver first-class quality while tip-toeing on a cramped up timeline?

Before you begin any creative or cognitive task, look for your i-pod and listen to your favorites.

Here is why –

It’s like a motivational kick-start for creative and cognitive tasks. As per a study, subjects answered more questions (accurately) in an allotted time, when allowed to listen music.[3]

Another study conducted on Japanese kids concluded that our creative skills pique after listening to any familiar or classical song.[4]

2. Do you always feel sick, sad, depressed or anxious? Does the slightest of things stress you out? Are you obsessed about perfection?

Next time you are anxious, sick or stressed out, play an upbeat track and let your body sway a li’l bit with it. It will help you stay calm and relax, and even foster your immunity.

Here is why –

In psychology, music is known to act like a psych catharsis, something that reduces frustration and helps to deal with anger.

Dr. Ronny Enk, researching on the effect of music on our immune system, believes, “We think, the pleasant state induced by music leads to special physiological changes which eventually lead to stress reduction or direct immune enhancement.”[5]

Music decreases symptoms of stress by reducing the amount of cortisol in body, a hormone released in times of stress.[6]

Remember what Bob Marley once said?

“One good thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

3. Are you a fitness enthusiast and looking for a way to enhance your workout effectiveness?

music and exerciseThen, play the music while exercising. But, choose your playlist well!

Here is why –

Have you ever seen someone lift dumbbells with Venga boys playing in the background? That’s bizarre. That’s the song for aerobics. Listening to an upbeat track makes you push your stamina by boosting your pace. The faster the music, the faster is your muscle movement.

For strength training workout, the music needs to be more hardcore and metal. Something like Eminem’s Till I collapse. And it’s not coming out of thin air or from somebody’s personal observation. A 2007 research found that music and exercising are positively related.[7]

4. Are you always forgetting where you put the keys? Do you struggle to memorize grammar of two different languages you are learning?

When you get stuck the next time, take a five minutes break. Reach out for your headphones and relax with a soulful R&B track.

Here is why –

According to Anne Blood, a neuroscientist in McGill University, Montreal, music activates various regions of the brain associated with memory, motor control and language.[8] This is because these parts are neighbors with the one that is directly influenced by music. Surprising it may seem, but music has also helped some patients regain their lost memory.[9]

5. Hate Math? Or do you feel Math has a vendetta against you? Stuck with spatial problems and algorithms?

Music will not make math fall in love with you, but it sure can equip you to fight the battle like a warrior. Blind its senses with a classical track or play Beatles’ The Inner Light, and all math and spatial problems will go easy on you.

Here is why –

A research found that music shoots up your mathematical and spatial analytical skills by almost 50 percent. And the reason will surprise you – It is because, music tickles the same neurons needed for mathematics and spatial problems as are done while learning classical music.[10]

Most of us were not aware that our favorite time pass can be one magic spell to make our day to day troubles a little less troublesome. From a kid who is struggling with language, to the one battling math, from a new mom fighting belly fat to one following boss’ orders, from the nerds to the dudes – music is no doubt the love and savior of everyone.

As for me, it gives wings to my mind and flight to my imagination.

Try out the ways to be smart with me and share your experience. And if you have any new way to play, let all of us know and get benefited.

If you enjoyed this article, do not miss out on these 3 Brilliant Tricks To Brush Up Your Brain!


[1]Fritz, T., Jentschke, S., Gosselin, N., Sammler, D., Peretz, I., Turner, R., Friederici, A., & Koelsch, S. (2009). Universal Recognition of Three Basic Emotions in Music Current Biology, 19 (7), 573-576 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.02.058. ^Back to Top^

[2]Milovanov, R., & Tervaniemi, M. (2011). The Interplay between Musical and Linguistic Aptitudes: A Review Frontiers in Psychology, 2 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00321. ^Back to Top^

[3] Schellenberg, E. (2005). Music and Cognitive Abilities Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14 (6), 317-320 DOI: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00389.x. ^Back to Top^

[4]Schellenberg, E., Nakata, T., Hunter, P., & Tamoto, S. (2007). Exposure to music and cognitive performance: tests of children and adults Psychology of Music, 35 (1), 5-19 DOI: 10.1177/0305735607068885. ^Back to Top^

[5]Enk, R., Franzke, P., Offermanns, K., Hohenadel, M., Boehlig, A., Nitsche, I., Kalda, T., Sack, U., & Koelsch, S. (2008). Music and the immune system International Journal of Psychophysiology, 69 (3) DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.05.039. ^Back to Top^

[6]KHALFA, S., BELLA, S., ROY, M., PERETZ, I., & LUPIEN, S. (2003). Effects of Relaxing Music on Salivary Cortisol Level after Psychological Stress Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 999 (1), 374-376 DOI: 10.1196/annals.1284.045. ^Back to Top^

[7]Edworthy, J., & Waring, H. (2006). The effects of music tempo and loudness level on treadmill exercise Ergonomics, 49 (15), 1597-1610 DOI: 10.1080/00140130600899104. ^Back to Top^

[8]Blood, A., & Zatorre, R. (2001). Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98 (20), 11818-11823 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.191355898. ^Back to Top^

[9]Groene, R. (1993). Effectiveness of Music Therapy 1:1 Intervention with Individuals Having Senile Dementia of the Alzheimer's Type Journal of Music Therapy, 30 (3), 138-157 DOI: 10.1093/jmt/30.3.138. ^Back to Top^

[10]Graziano AB, Peterson M, & Shaw GL (1999). Enhanced learning of proportional math through music training and spatial-temporal training. Neurological research, 21 (2), 139-52 PMID: 10100200. ^Back to Top^

Last Updated: July 30th, 2014

Next Scheduled Update: Sept 30th, 2014

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