What if you get headaches? The right piece of music can make you feel euphoric in just moments. Much of this effect is due to an increase of various neurotransmitters such as dopamine. If you could scan your brain amidst such an experience, it would look uncanningly similar to a scan of a person using cocaine.
The relaxing power of dopamine is no placebo. It is strong stuff. As my co-authors and I report in our book, Your Playlist Can Change Your Life, dopamine also plays a role in decreasing and regulating body pain. This is why if you are in pain and are using opiates (which increase your dopamine levels) you can , at times, put on a piece of music you like a lot, and "naturally" open up your dopamine pipeline, relieving your pain with less meds and sometimes without any. The more you like a song, the better it works.
Take Action: Make your "Pain Relief" playlist today and load it up on your iPod or cell phone so you will have it whenever you need it. Pick songs you like a lot that have a relaxing effect on you. Use those that send you the "right" lyrical message.
As you listen, make positive feeling mental movies in your mind and then try to visualize yourself in them. This will boost the feel-good effects. Push your play button and repeat if necessary.
Take Action: One individual I know listens to an "energizing" (upbeat) playlist when she is at that stage that she feels a headache coming on. This is known as the aura phase. If she is beyond that stage or the headache persists, she puts on a "calming" playlist for the whole time of the attack. This, she says, decreases the intensity as well as the length of her headache.
Below are two playlists to give you the basic idea. Importantly, however, the songs and type of music you use should be enjoyable to you. The more you like a song the better it works. Enjoy.
Sample Energizing Playlist (when headache persists)
You're Going Down, Sick Puppies
Kryptonite, Three Doors Down
No Way Back, Foo Fighters
No Retreat, No Surrender, Bruce Springsteen
Sample Calming Playlist (when headache is coming on)
Every Breath You Take, Sting
Iris, Goo Goo Dolls
Saving Me, Nickelback
Double Trouble, Eric Clapton
Big Joe and Phantom 309, Tom Waits
For a more complete exploration of natural, complementary methods to enhance physical and mental performance see The Five Seasons: Tap Into Nature's Secrets For Health and Your Playlist Can Change Your Life.
For more by Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D., click here.
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