How Music and Psychology Go Hand in Hand
    • WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017

    • Posted by: Katie Pedernera

    On February 11th in Manchester, England, a large traffic jam was caused as police blocked roads in attempt to get through standstill cars. On the scene, a young man was found standing on a bridge platform with his body hanging over the edge - ready to jump off. Police immediately tried to remove the man from the platform while a large tour bus happened to be caught in the congestion. Rapper Drake was on that bus while on his way to his next performance the following evening. He offered to help talk the man down but the police declined his offer with thanks.

    I never know how to feel when I see news like this. I find myself circulating and attempting to connect what just happened to my own life.

    I am well aware that there is a common pattern through all the activities in my life. It's grown out of my passions for dance, music, and psychology, and it has become a passion in itself. Through dance, I have learned how much deeper experiences get when I am in "the zone" (if you've ever been in the zone before, and I know you have, then you know exactly what I mean). Playing music for some years taught me about the power of sound when it comes to emotions. This is a common example of classical conditioning. Conditioning happens whenever your brain goes through a traumatic event - it can be something as small as suffering from food poisoning from fish. Because of this event, your brain will always associate fish with the feeling of getting sick. But this same concept applies to all of the human senses. Noba Journal explains further with this example, "waking up early causes a natural sensation of grumpiness," due to the fact most of us are woken up by an alarm. It's not you that wakes up grumpy, it's that awful sound by your bed that makes you grumpy.

    But there are way more positive aspects to conditioning our senses. When I went through a psychology kick way back, I learned that a person can condition the brain with a little trick that combines music and getting in the zone in challenging situations.

    Some years ago, while participating in dance competitions, I listened to the same song during every routine I did that season. This little routine helped me get into the vibe I needed in those moments. Not only did I feel in the zone by doing this, but it also helped me succeed and connect with people over the season, by boosting my level of comfort and confidence.

    (Here's the playlist I listened to in order to pumped/remind myself that I am a boss a$$ b!tch):

    Music has power. Music is soothing. It has been proven by a number of psychology journals that music reduces anxiety and depression. There are so many ways that music can help heal a person. Music therapy at times is thrown into the pseudoscience category because of things like, "a man with alzheimer's can regain his memory while listening to songs he grew up with." While the sentiment is sweet, it's not proven.

    Music therapy significantly reduces the emotional distress and boots quality of life - can this help treat depression? Treatments that fall under music therapy include, "regaining speech after head trauma, lessening the effects of dementia and depression, fixing damaged motor functions, and reduce asthma episodes."

    Psychology and music are intertwined in many ways. Through conditioning, music can give a person the urge to do something (thanks, Ivan Pavlov). Music conditioning should be used to better ourselves. It could be a wake-up song, our favorite album to clean our house, the tune that gets in the mood to work out, or just some chill out vibes to calm us down after a long day.

    Music has the potential to make everything better. It helps us to ignite our emotions and apply it to our passions.

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