Music and Mind
Science all but confirms that humans are hard-wired to respond to music. Studies also suggest that someday music may even help patients heal from Parkinson’s Disease or a Stroke.
Music has been part of Indian culture from time immemorial. It is said to have originated from Samaveda.
The notion that there is a connection between music, mind and that music can influence the mind, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is not a surprise.
Have you ever felt pumped up while listening to your favourite fast-paced rock number or been moved to tears by a tender live performance?? The answer itself helps you understand the power of music to impact the mind.
Music is an integral part of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the science that emphasises prevention as well as cure of psychosomatic disorders and maintains health. The Doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha can be managed through Music.
Music is a universal language that influences all levels of human existence. It is structural, mathematical, and architectural, which is based on the relationship between one note and the next. The brain has to do a lot of computing to make sense of it.
Researchers suggest that playing or listening to music affects the mind, can reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, memory and helps control negative aspects of personalities like worry, bias, and anger. Few suggest it can increase aggressive thoughts, encourage crime depending upon the music selected.
Music therapy is the specialised use of music to treat persons with special needs in mental health. The psychological effects of music are powerful and wide-ranging.
It is one of the most effective ways to manage emotions and the mind. Classical Indian Ragas like Raga Bhairavi, Malkauns, etc. are believed to benefit a wide range of psychiatric conditions ranging from Insomnia to Schizophrenia. The right kind of music helps one relax.
If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the ageing process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.
Raga Therapy: The Healing Power of Music
Raga therapy is a practice that follows a series of selected notes, known as Ragas, which evoke the emotions required to heal and calm the body and mind.
This therapy heavily contributes to psychological, sociological, and academic improvement. It is capable of healing health problems like diabetes, blood pressure, anxiety, stress, and other lifestyle disorders. Raga therapy is a safe alternative for medical interventions. It leads to relaxation and calms the mind from any disturbing thoughts.
Raga therapy consists of a whole range of emotions that can be captured and communicated via melodies and certain rhythms. Not only is the person taking Raga Therapy benefitted, but also the person providing it. It gives a soothing effect to the giver and the receiver.
Raga therapy is a customized therapy that varies from person to person, according to their needs and requirements, however, there are some common benefits of the therapy:
A Support System: People who are grieving are mostly anxious and stressed, and hence are unable to keep themselves calm. Raga Therapy is a rescue option for them to divert their thoughts towards positivity with the help of the calmness of Ragas.
Reduces Stress and Tension: Known for being a borrower of sounds from nature, Raga therapy includes the melodies of nature such as the humming of birds, the sound of the wind, or the sound of water droplets. These sounds do an amazing job of relaxing the mind and taking the person away from stress or anxiety.
Assists Memory and Imagination: When toxicity and negativity are removed from the mind, one gets an open space to think, imagine and retain positive thoughts. Hence, it also helps improve memory.
Do It Yourself
Through trial and error, you can find songs that strike a particularly emotional chord in you and use this music to create a targeted mindset. Ask yourself: “Does this song make me feel like the glass is half empty or full? Does this song make me feel energised or depressed? What state of mind do I want to be in right now?”
The emotional response to music is very subjective. Not all ‘happy’ songs are universally guaranteed to put everyone in a good mood all the time. Take constant inventory of how a specific song affects your mood and mindset. Play around with lots of songs, artists, and different genres.
Identify the target mindset you want to click into and then use music to tap into this conscious state of mind by entering ‘up’ through a “trap door” buried at a subconscious level. This is called bottom-up processing.
Encode some ‘power songs’ to be anthems that you reserve for times when you need a trigger that cues a specific state of mind on demand.
– Change your ability to perceive time
– Tap into a primal fear
– Reduce seizures
– Make you a better communicator
– Make you stronger
– Boost your immune system
– Assist in repairing brain damage
– Make you smarter
– Evoke memories
– Help Parkinson’s patients
Be you.. Choose any music that brings a smile to you
We all have songs we’re embarrassed to love. Who cares?! Do not be self-conscious about ‘uncool’ song choices. Else you will be denying yourself the major benefits of heartfelt, innate bottom-up processing. Music that’s powerful enough to be “spine-tingling” can light up the brain’s “reward center,” as a pleasurable stimulus.
Music is one of the most powerful neurobiological tools with which we can manage our moods, mindset, behaviour, and cognition.
About The Author
Dr. Chitrangana N Chauhan
Dr Chitrangana specializes in Ayurveda Behavioral Health (Manasa Roga) with experience in Ayurveda-Psychiatry, Stress Management, Deaddiction and Psychology.
Additionally, Dr Chitrangana has expertise in Ayurveda General Medicine, Nadi (Pulse), Counselling and Yoga.