Brain Health Boost from Music

Coconut Telegraph

What a difference a few weeks makes; the current COVID-19 crisis has rearranged our world in irreversible and generation-defining ways. And as our nation enters one of its greatest tests over the next few weeks, it’s important to cultivate and nurture the idea of “hope” with as much care as possible.  During the COVID-19 outbreak and recovery, the Brain Health Initiative will continue to offer Brain Boosts, including playlists and film suggestions to promote and support brain health.

Why hope? Hope is important for your brain.

Neuroscientists have investigated the science of hope and implications to promoting brain health and fighting brain illness. It turns out that a positive feeling of hopefulness changes our brain in ways that enhance our overall performance and well-being. Hope, which involves belief and expectation, causes the brain to release neurochemicals called endorphins and enkephalins. The result is that the brain can more easily overcome hurdles and move to a place of calm and recovery. Hope is predicated on the belief that all conditions are temporary, and we are headed toward positive. The world will now be different than the one we perhaps imagined it might have been, even a few weeks ago. And in this process of transformation, people are uniting to help and inspire each other in ways that will carry us through to the other side of this global experience — and far beyond.

What does music and film have to do with brain health?

Many of us use music to support our mood, but most people do not understand the science behind how music has the ability to promote our brain health and enhance the daily performance of our brain and body. Science demonstrates that not only are humans hardwired for music, but studies also agree that music positively activates multiple regions of the human brain (from the amygdala to the hippocampus) and boosts our emotions, memory, health, healing, and overall well-being. Feel good messages generated in film have similar implications. Given music's powerful ability to protect the health of our brain and body, as well as to fight brain illness, the Brain Health Innovation Lab, a component of the Brain Health Initiative, intends to offer clinical trials around music and sound innovation that could actively increase functioning of our brains, bodies and performance. 

This week, during this season of faith, we have created a playlist and selected a film to inspire hope, goodness, optimism and renewal. Try engaging in a mindfulness exercise where you listen to music (even just one song) for a set time each day. Listen to the music carefully and tune out other distractions. Keep a journal, noting how the music or the film affected your mood, thoughts, feelings, emotions and physical state. 

Please find a few song suggestions below or view the entire playlist: Hope, Goodness, Optimism and Renewal.

Mercy, Dave Matthews Band. Try, Pink. Bad Day, Daniel Powter. I’m Still Standing, Elton John. Give Me Love, George Harrison. Good Day, Jewel. You Raise Me Up, Josh Groban. I Smile, Kirk Franklin

View the entire playlist for Hope, Goodness, Optimism and Renewal.

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