The Power of Sound for Your Brain
- by Karl
When I was at college, I used to play in a band and I loved it. Mainly because of my love of music. We had some really big gigs and used to write our own songs as well as covering some obscure music from those times. It is amazing that the music I used to listen to at that stage of my life can still make me feel a very particular way.
It’s like when I run listening to my ipod, it makes such a difference. I can run faster and longer when I have certain tunes on.
What’s more, I love listening to loud uplifting music when I get out of the shower first thing in the morning, because it makes me feel really alive, upbeat and charged up for my day ahead. My girlfriend is the same, even though our music tastes differ, she likes to sing loudly in the shower and while getting ready for work in the mornings. When I asked her about it once and she described how the music made her feel, she started to grin with delight, and I was intrigued by just how powerful sound can be and how we can all use it for our own benefit.
Not sure if many of you will remember this, but here in the UK some years back, Prince Charles was quoted saying “I just come and talk to the plants, really-very important to talk to them, they respond I find” in The Daily Mail. All kinds of research has been done as to how sound affects the world around us.
I recently read some research by William Congreve about the effects of music on our own development. I seriously doubt that William Congreve would have said “music hath charms to soothe the savage breast” if he had heard my band practising in my parents front room when I was at college, but he did think music offered people some special things.
The point that Congreve so memorably made more than 300 years ago, however, still rings true. Music elicits unconscious reactions. Brahms reportedly puts cranky babies to sleep. Mozart supposedly helps children achieve higher results in exams. Pleasant melodies of all sorts are said to lift depression, relieve anxiety and reduce pain associated with cancer.
Even many prominent psychiatrists acknowledge that sounds can indeed provoke the nervous system. The most dramatic examples are two types of epileptic seizures. High-frequency sound waves can trigger “audiogenic seizures.” The emotional reactions to music can cause “musicogenic seizures.”
There is a fascinating piece of research that shows how sound affects cells of water and if you think that the majority of us all is water, then you can begin to think that the sounds we continue to deliver inside our minds can be of some serious importance here.
What I want you to think about are the sounds you allow to be played inside your own mind. In my self-hypnosis master class and book, I mention a lot about internal dialogue. I want to go even further than that today though and go beyond the meaning and content of dialogue and just listen to the sounds that we notice in our minds; the tone, rhythm and pitch and how each affects you.
First of all, have a go at doing this:
Firstly, have a nice sigh. Sigh, naturally and out loud, three times in a row. A sigh sends a signal to your brain that all is OK with you and that you are safe and well. The process of sighing three times in a row typically gives an overall sense of comfort and relaxation and it should only be taking you 30 seconds or so!
Secondly, imagine sighing out loud three times.
You may recall from lots of my previous editions of Adam Up that your unconscious mind does not know the difference between an actual experience and a sensory rich imagined experience. So just imagine sighing out loud three times now. You can imagine sighs in situations where you want to feel the benefit and where loud ones might not be appropriate.
Sound has a profound influence upon us at levels below our conscious awareness. When you hear someone whose voice irritates you, that is a very real feeling being created by responses within you and the chemicals your brain is producing in relation to that sound, interesting stuff eh?
Similarly, when you listen to someone who has a really sensual, alluring voice, that has a very real feeling attached to it as well doesn’t it? There is a genuine connection between tone of voice and feelings. This does not have to be exclusive to communicating with others; it matters how you communicate with yourself too!
So, thirdly, imagine from memory that you can hear your favourite piece of music. I know that there are pieces of music that just make you feel wonderful. Notice the extent to which it is possible for you to feel the sensations the music creates in your body. Now become aware of the associated feelings you experience.
You will notice that lots of the world’s comedians, performers, prominent speakers and trainers play music when they come on and leave stage. They know that it helps them and you feel good at those crucial times.
Fourthly then, listen to a favourite piece of music and allow yourself to become aware of how you experience it. Music doesn’t just come in through your ears, rather, notice how you feel it with your entire body. When the piece finishes, play it over again in your mind, and discover the how you can reproduce all the sensations you originally felt. Then, next time you find yourself in a circumstance or situation where you would benefit from feeling those sensations, play the music in your mind!
Once you are sure that this really makes a difference inside your mind and body, you can begin to create and to think about various sounds that, when imagined, have certain effects on you. It really does bring new meaning to the term “sound effects.”
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When I was at college, I used to play in a band and I loved it. Mainly because of my love of music. We had some really big gigs and used to write our own songs as well as covering some obscure music from those times. It is amazing that the music I used to…