Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: 10 Proven Ways Your Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization, Alertness and More is a fantastic read for anyone who would like to relieve stress or maximize their potential using the simple, accessible and enjoyable tool of music. The book was written by an impressive team of experts — Galina Mindlin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and founder of Brain Music Therapy; Don DuRousseau, M.B.A., founder and CEO of Human Bionics LLC. and executive director of Peak Neurotraining Solutions Inc.; and Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D., professor and top-selling author in holistic psychology and mind-body medicine.
The book brings a wealth of research and knowledge about the effects of music on the brain, distilled into a very engaging, easily digestible read. It can be used effectively by virtually anyone, from those who are very busy and simply want to read and implement in small doses, to those who are ready for a full overhaul and would like to do so as easily as possible.
Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: Science You Can Use
One of the greatest strengths of Your Playlist Can Change Your Life is the simply presented research behind it. This book delivers solid scientific backing for a powerful and versatile tool that can be used by just about anyone. Because the authors come from diverse backgrounds, the information presented comes from several perspectives. The authors effectively explain several complex concepts in simple and engaging language. Rather than merely presenting a collection of tips and directives, they explain why these suggestions work, as well as how. For example, they explain:
- The role of the neurotransmitter dopamine, how it acts on the pleasure centers in the brain and how it can be released with the right music
- How music directly and instantly affects the brain and body's chemistry via a specific channel
- How music can be used to relieve anxiety, promote feelings of happiness, organize the brain and much more
- The different types of brain waves and how different styles of music can promote each wave type
- How memories and attitudes can be attached to music, and how we can alter the attachments we have to certain songs to create the experiences we would like to have
- By using a specific combination of songs, you can move yourself gradually out of a very negative mood and into a positive one
- How you can condition your brain to relax your body and calm your emotions by simply humming a tune. This is not an exaggeration. It can be done in a relatively short amount of time.
The book includes many more topics and usable information on every page. But I found the chapters on mental flow, alleviating anxiety, increasing happiness and mood improvement to be particularly useful for stress management.
Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: A Simple Plan for Stress Relief
In addition to the scientific explanations of how music affects the body and mind, many suggestions were included on how to put these changes into action. Rather than simply listening to music - or, for example, listening to classical music because it is said to be calming (regardless of whether or not you actually enjoy classical music) - this book provides practical suggestions for targeting certain experiences with specific music-related activities for research-backed results.
One of the basic strategies presented in the book is to find music that matches the energy level you would like to attain (music with more beats per minute can be energizing, while music with a slower tempo can be physiologically and psychologically calming), and listen to it for several minutes until a different emotional state is reached. This process can include a progression of songs that become increasingly energetic or relaxing. With repeated listening during times of stress, the body and mind can be conditioned to respond by shifting more quickly when the familiar playlist is used.
Readers who want to feel more confident, mentally sharp, happy, empowered, creative, emotionally resilient and organized can use the techniques in this book and find immediate results. Over the course of a few weeks, the results will come more quickly and automatically. After months of practice, the results increase and the level of effort is minimized. The steps involved are a little more complex than merely turning on the radio, but there are a variety of tips, ranging from the quick and easy to a bit more involved (but not necessarily challenging). Various types of readers can find and follow suggestions that work best for them.
Suggestions for music to use are also included, so readers can be inspired to try new songs that have been found to help many people, as well as incorporate music they already know and love. Readers are encouraged to create playlists of music they enjoy, to go with specific targeted results (such as "energizing lunch break" or "before speaking to the boss") and listen to them enough that their brains become conditioned to relax when they hear the songs. There are more specific suggestions that can be quite helpful, such as pairing visualizations with the pieces. This basic advice can be followed by virtually anyone, with great results.
Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: The Bottom Line
Your Playlist Can Change Your Life offers a wealth of unforgettable information on how to use music as a secret weapon against stress; it's an effective tool for improving your quality of life in many areas. As a proponent of stress management, I found the book to be an engaging and informative read that I would excitedly recommend.For more information on how music can be used therapeutically, see this article on music therapy, or read this article to find tips on using music in daily life to relieve stress.