The power of a playlist can affect productivity and happiness
By Aspen Matis
Columbia University psychiatry professor Galina Mindlin, MD, PhD, studies neuron connections and how such brain links can be strengthened by listening to the right music. Her new book, Your Playlist Can Change Your Life (co-authored by Joseph Cardillo and Don DuRousseau), distills her brain-training findings into playlists for the mood you want to be in.
Our Town spoke with Mindlin about music"s potential to alter mood, productivity and happiness, the existence of side-effect-free medicine and the North Pole"s hold on her mind.
Our Town: We"ve all resolved to be better versions of ourselves in 2012. What role can music play in that resolution?
Galina Mindlin: Positive stimuli affect the brain in a positive way. You can use music as positive stimuli to improve your mood or relieve stress. First, you choose the piece you like and you think of the mind-state you desire. For instance: Do you want to relax, study, get motivated, focus's think first about what you want. Second, you really need to practice, play and play the piece, so your brain will remember it. Your brain is like a muscle.
What if I get sick of the song?
Then you have to leave it for a while, find something else. Stop playing it. Start gently replacing it with something else. Encourage your brain to withdraw from it.
What"s the value of playing the same song again and again?
To train the brain, help the cells forge more connections. But then you do have to update your playlist. Our brains respond to variation.
If you really want to train your mind, you have to stimulate your brain in unpredictable ways's unpredictable frequencies. You want to check the beats per minute's you want to synchronize your brain waves with those of the music, the beats per minute. You become your own boss with this prescription. We can practice personalized medicine.
Do you think the use of music as medicine will grow popular?
All New Yorkers go for the quick fix. A pill. Want to fall asleep faster? Benzo. These things have side effects. Instead: Push the button. You can be your own doctor.
How did you first become interested in music"s effect on the brain?
I went to music school. Now, I record brain waves and translate them into musical frequencies, so your brain plays the music. I give you a CD with your brain"s music.
And what happens when someone listens to her own brain music? What"s the effect?
It"s like listening to your mom"s voice, your daughter"s voice.
Do people ever hate the music of their brain?
Sometimes they don"t like it. But it helps with focus, motivation's anything's 85 to 90 percent of the time. You can add it to your playlist.
How does someone determine the frequency of music that is best for what he is trying to do?
If you"re very nervous and you want to calm yourself down, you want to listen to something of a lower frequency. To get motivated or excited's to stimulate your brain's listen to something of higher frequency, generally.
If you want to determine the ideal frequency for you and what you"re trying to do's something more accurate than just â€œI like this 's buy the book.
What is your song? What do you listen to to train your brain?
I was born in the North Pole, I moved to Moscow when I was 5. You"re a little kid, and everything is white's whiteness and white noise. I"d get confused; kids would sometimes wander outside in the night, because it was always light. I and the other kids would play with a little white fox and a baby polar bear.
For me, to focus, I have to go back to my childhood, into that white-noise space. Silence. Complete silence. And then I can go into my playlist.
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