The Soundtrack of your life. What are you playing?

music-finds-the-secret-places-of-the-soulI have always had a fascination with music, the soundtrack of our lives and the way it can affect us–good or bad.  I think my first real experience with the power and influence of music was when I was a teenager and my brother had been talking to me about taking his own life.  Of course, I was worried and did my best as a young teen to help, but in the end, he followed his personal need & took our family car off a cliff. Luckily, he survived, even though the car was totalled (a dime on the car floor was bent in half), he was thrown from the car into a snow bank & was able to walk out of the canyon alive. After a few days, he shared a scary story about the power of music. While he was driving down the canyon the song, “Devil Inside” came on & in this instant he steered the car off the cliff. I cannot say this song or the energy behind it had any possible cause, but I can tell you that my brother distinctly remembered this song playing & then taking the car off the cliff.

So, why am I sharing this story?? Because I have always believed good or bad—music can have a powerful affect & we need to be aware of what we are playing as the soundtracks of our lives.

Here is another alarming study to show the harm of harsh music (I shared this in my positive vs negative post) but incase you missed it: Sixteen-year-old David Merrell, a student at Nansemond River High School in Suffolk, Va., thought that the loud sounds of hard-rock music must have a bad effect on its devoted fans and came up with a way to test that damage.

Merrell got 72 mice and divided them into three groups: one to test a mouse’s response to hard rock, another to the music of Mozart and a control group that wouldn’t listen to any music at all, rock or classical.
The young vivisectionist got all the mice accustomed to living in aquariums in his basement, then started playing music 10 hours a day. Merrell put each mouse through a maze three times a week that originally had taken the mice an average of 10 minutes to complete.

Over time, the 24 control-group mice managed to cut about 5 minutes from their maze-completion time. The Mozart-listening mice cut their time back 8-and-a-half minutes.
But the hard-rock mice added 20 minutes to their time, making their average maze-running time 300 percent more than their original average.
Need we say more? Well maybe we do. Merrell told the Associated Press that he’d attempted the experiment the year before, allowing mice in the different groups to live together.
 “I had to cut my project short because all the hard-rock mice killed each other,” Merrell said. “None of the classical mice did that.” (taken from edu-cyberpg.com)

So, please be aware of the negative music that you may have within your life or in the lives of those you love.

100101951_zps319d376eSo here are some great discoveries, wonderful articles, good information about how music helps heal.

How music heals 

Music can produce direct biological changes, such as reducing heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. There are so many proven positives to good music. Here are only some of them…Eases pain, anxiety, motivates, increases workout endurance, improves sleep quality, enhances blood vessel function, reduces stress, induces a meditative state, helps with depression, elevates mood, improves cognitive performance, helps people perform better in high-pressure situations, relaxes and more… (to read further details on the above benefits go to http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music)

There is also preliminary evidence showing that listening to music can boost immune system function by decreasing stress hormones and increasing growth hormones. These changes should prime the body to be in a better state for recovering from and resisting illnesses, but the research is weak thus far and needs further investigation. -jamescleararticle

There are a range of studies that link music to happiness and pleasure in different ways. Despite the differences in the individual studies, the scientific consensus on the topic is that music does stimulate the same areas of the brain that trigger pleasure in other activities. A range of studies have found that listening to pleasurable music stimulates the mesocorticolimbic system in the brain, which is the same “pleasure center” that is triggered by humor, tasty food, and even cocaine. In this way, you could say that music is like a drug. If music makes you happy, then it might be possible that it is good for your health. -jamesclear.com (great article http://jamesclear.com/music-therapy)

One of the reasons why listening to music is so healing for us is due to the power of musical intervals.When we listen to all the intervals in the musical scale it is profoundly healing for our body and our mind. Listening to musical intervals is good for: Insomnia, Getting babies to sleep, Cancer, Joint Problems, Depression, Anxiety and most illnesses. -Positivehealth.com

Music Healing Mental Illness: Nowhere is this legacy more clear or important than in the movement to use music to treat mental illness. One in four(link is external) adults in the U.S. suffers from a mental illness in a given year, yet only 40 percent(link is external) receive treatment. The public health implications are considerable; mental health issues cost the world $2.5 trillion(link is external) annually in health care costs, loss of functioning and loss of life.     We now know through controlled treatment outcome studies that listening to and playing music is a potent treatment for mental health issues. Research demonstrates that adding music therapy to treatment improves symptoms and social functioning amongschizophrenics(link is external). Further, music therapy has demonstrated efficacy as an independent treatment for reducing depression(link is external)anxiety(link is external) and chronic pain(link is external).  -psychologytoday.com

In his book “Awakenings,” the British-American neurologist Oliver Sacks writes of patients who went from being catatonic to fully functional when music was added to their environment.  -WallStreetJournal article

Another article about “Alive Inside” documentary about patients with dementia, bipolar, schizo…and how music is a backdoor that awakens something inside. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865611277/Alive-Inside-is-a-testament-to-the-healing-power-of-music.html?pg=all

open-door-gabriela-insuratelu“Music might provide an alternative entry point” to the brain, because it can unlock so many different doors into an injured or ill brain, said Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, a Harvard University neurologist. Pitch, harmony, melody, rhythm and emotion — all components of music — engage different regions of the brain. And many of those same regions are also important in speech, movement and social interaction. If a disease or trauma has disabled a brain region needed for such functions, music can sometimes get in through a back door and coax them out by another route, Schlaug says.

“In a sense, we’re using musical tools to particularly engage certain parts of the brain and then teach the brain new tricks — new tools — to overcome an impairment,” he says.

Reading: Research suggests that people with dyslexia, or difficulty reading, also fare poorly on tests of auditory processing. Their timing is also poor. They have difficulty filtering out unwanted background noise and “tuning in” to sounds — such as a teacher’s instruction — that they want to hear. Intensive music instruction has been found to improve those skills, and with them, some skills related to reading.

Movement: If you’re old enough, recall John Travolta walking down the street to the song “Stayin’ Alive” in the opening scene of “Saturday Night Fever.” Now imagine a patient with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative brain condition that affects the initiation and smooth completion of movement. Here’s where music’s rhythmic qualities appear to get in the back door of a patient’s brain and provide a work-around to brain functions degraded by Parkinson’s. By engaging the network of regions that perceive and anticipate rhythm, music with a steady, predictable beat can be used to cue the brain’s motor regions to initiate walking.

Once off the dime, a Parkinson’s patient can use the music’s beat to maintain a steady, rhythmic gait, like John Travolta.

“It works well and it works instantaneously, and it’s hard to think of any medication that has this effect,” Schlaug says.

Neuroscientists suspect that music may work in much the same way for stutterers, who can experience difficulties initiating speech and maintaining a steady flow of words. Case studies have long observed that when stutterers sing, their halting speech patterns disappear. Music’s predictable beats may help them initiate speech and continue fluently.

Memory: The progressive degeneration of memory in Alzheimer’s disease cannot be reversed or slowed by any intervention. But music can temporarily unlock memories for patients who have lost their grip on nearly every other detail of their daily life and relationships.

Preemies’ weight gain: An Israeli study, published December in the journal Pediatrics, found that playing Mozart quietly in neonatal intensive care units supported the weight gain of premature infants by slowing their rate of energy expenditure. Babies exposed over two days to 30 minutes of music (drawn from, yes, an Israeli “Mozart for Baby” CD) slowed their metabolisms, helping to accelerate their growth.      -LATImes Article

music-and-focusA number of studies show that music therapy – the use of music for medical goals – can reduce pain. In a 2001 study on burn patients, whose burns must be frequently scraped to reduce dead tissue, researchers found that music therapy significantly reduced the excruciating pain. Patients undergoing colonoscopy also seem to feel less pain and need fewer sedative drugs if they listen to music during the procedure, according to several studies. Another study done at Glasgow Caledonian University found that people who were listening to their favorite music felt less pain and could stand pain for a longer period.       Deforia Lane, director of music therapy at the University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center in Cleveland, has found an improvement in immune response among hospitalized children who played, sang, and created music compared to children who did not get music therapy.    Research conclusions have identified how the affect of music could replicate the effects of hormone replacement therapy in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Music that a person likes – but not music that is disliked – activates both the higher, thinking centers in the brain’s cortex, and, perhaps more important, also the “ancient circuitry, the motivation and reward system,” said experimental psychologist Robert Zatorre, a member of the team.  

The brain grows in response to musical training in the way a muscle responds to exercise. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston discovered that male musicians have larger brains than men who have not had extensive musical training.   -wakeup-world.com (to read the whole article–interesting http://wakeup-world.com/2013/10/08/9-healing-benefits-of-music/)

imagesStudies have proven that music can beneficially affect heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate and shifts in emotions and energy levels. Even more interestingly, the research has proven that the healing power of music goes beyond humans and extends to the animal world. The mood enhancing capability of music has provided tranquil restorations to animals that have been previously abused or neglected. The animals connect with the tones and tempos as a source of relaxation, just as we connect with music in a similar manner.  -Massagetoday.com

Great article: Prescription with Pleasure: The Healing Power of Music http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/alternative/prescription-with-pleasure-the-healing-power-of-music.htm

Well, I hope I have given you enough food for thought on this one. Feel your mind and your life with good things!!

Peace to you.  -H

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A good dose of a happy life

happiness-quote-life-inspiration-motivation-picture-photo-artI recently heard a great analogy about what you put into your life…if you were allergic to something, what do you do? you avoid that opportunity to set yourself up for irritation or pain. If you are allergic to cats, do you find yourself going out of your way to be around them?? No. If you are allergic to melon, do you buy them, even during the summer months? No.

So, why then, do we set ourselves up to surround ourselves with people who are toxic, jobs that make us irritable, have friends that drain our energy, sign up for things we don’t enjoy? WHY, I ask you?? All I can say is, we need to STOP IT!!! and if you have never seen the below video (most likely you have, but in the tiny possibility you haven’t, I am putting it here) and if you have seen it–Enjoy another good laugh!! 

Now here is a little trick for you: Make a mental note or even a physical note of all the things, people, situations, addictions, thoughts, memories, relationships, etc. that drain your energy, suck up your happy life source, bring you down—things, people, places, situations you should avoid to make your life a little better. Make a list!! Now watch this video…

If you were allergic to something, you would avoid it!! You would want to avoid the discomfort. You would do all you could to steer clear of those things that brought you misery. So, I ask you again, WHY do you still find yourself filling your life with people, places, situations, addictions that bring the same misery to your life. You wouldn’t keep doing things that you are allergic to or that could be harmful, so evaluate the people in your life, the activities you participate in, the job you have, and fill your life with good things, not the toxic things. Think about it! Does it make sense? You don’t need serious doses of Benadryl, you need good doses of a healthy, happy life. Make it happen. You control what you allow into your life.

Cheers to a good, healthy dose of a happy life.  -Heather

Truly SEE what is wonderful

IMG_3693I have this sweet, old, aging dog who has lost his hearing and is losing his sight. He follows me around with his last sense of smell and a dim shadow that I know he catches once in awhile. It makes my heart break, but it also makes me see how grateful I am to still have him in my life. Each morning me and my dog Buddy, I call him my “Soul Buddy” stretch together in the downward dog yoga position at the top of my stairs. I gently touch his paw and he begins the stretch. It is a small, loving connection that we still have this loving bond. As I watch him maneuver the house I struggle to see him trip over an object that may not usually be in his natural path. I observe him barking even louder because his hearing is so faint. It is like he feels he is not being heard, so he needs to bark louder to ensure his voice. Although many things have changed for him, he still is able to find a warm sun spot, he still nuzzles his nose under my arm for a hug, he still does his very best to follow me & be my faithful companion & best friend.

As I watch him I am even more grateful for my own sight, my ability to see the details all around me. I watch him and admire his never ending, unconditional love for someone. I see his willing heart yearn to keep up when we go on a walk, even though his body is tired and ready to turn back. I see him sleep because he needs his rest.

What do I learn and see every day from my little Buddy…

Even though his life may be a struggle, he continues on, he does his best to keep up when things are tough, he loves without limits, he ventures outside & smells everything (because that is all he can do), he gives everything he has and then only asks… for a little love and a little rest.

Are you doing your best? Are you trying to SEE what is wonderful in your own life?? Are you pushing through the struggles? Are you venturing outside and smelling the roses, or taking in the beauty of a sunset? Are you loving those around you? Are you giving something of yourself? Are you doing a little better than yesterday? When you begin to truly SEE the wonderful things in your life, your life will begin to BE wonderful.

-Peace to you and my little Soul Buddy. xoxo

Spread the LOVE

2012-valentine_s-day-gisft-and-wallpapers-with-special-quotesWith Love week around the corner I thought it would be good to spread some LOVE. Our hearts yearn to share LOVE, to ignite a spark of connection, to spread goodness and radiate a light so bright that the world would see a glimmer of HOPE, a sea of positive change, a peace that would domino, a grand song that would play in the hearts of every single person who needed a little LOVE.

This morning I sat around our breakfast table & asked a question—“If you could change three things, what would you change?” We went around the table sharing different ideas, and I instantly thought of how different the world would be if we had a change of heart throughout the world. I immediately thought of times throughout my life that if I needed any advice, any direction on an idea, any encouragement and I asked complete strangers for their help,  how amazed I continually am to see people open their hearts wide open and give. They give for the sake of helping someone’s dream grow just a little, an idea to blossom into a possibility, they give their knowledge, their time. It never ceases to amaze me.

love-couples-beautiful-with-quotes-the-greatest-hd-free-585203When we look at the world through media lenses, we are often jaded by the stories, the misery, the broken parts of the world, but when we step just outside ourselves, we begin to see people all around with open hands and giving hearts. I have recently been working on an idea to possibly put into museums & had no idea where to begin, so I reached out & you know what happened? People from all over the country stopped, took time, gave me direction and did not hesitate to give. i have seen this over and over again because I know people give from their hearts and that is the perfect place. I genuinely think people are good and want to help if they have something to give.

fb_share_challengeyou-1I challenge any of you to try it for yourself. Don’t be afraid, be brave. Is there an idea you would like to see come into view, is there a dream you have been holding onto, is there direction you need, is there something you want to do, but just need a little nurturing. I encourage you to reach out and give someone else an opportunity to spread some love to YOU. Give someone the opportunity to share their knowledge, to share their contacts, to enlighten you with their experience…Let them help you, let them give to you and then when you are feeling connected and loved, find some way that you can also spread some love to someone who may need you, your smile, your time.

Quote81I do believe this is a big reason why we are on this snow globe of life—to give, to help one another, to learn this greatest gift.

Quotation-Roxana-Jones-giving-heart-Meetville-Quotes-19450Valentines-Day-Love-Quotes-and-Sayings

Peace and LOVE to you. -Heather

The search for Positive vs Negative

My daughter recently had a Science experiment to perform and we put our heads together and I made a few suggestions in ways to find Positive vs Negative energy and how it works in our lives. It was a really fun project to work on together, so I thought our findings may be interesting to you too!!

children-playing-videogamesWHAT ARE YOU PLAYING/WATCHING? I had heard about a test to tell if a particular video game had positive or negative energy. OUR TEST: We gathered up 7 different types of video games/movies (Playstation Destiny, Wii Daring Game for Girls, Crash Bandicoot, Wii Leela, SourceCode (PG-13 movie), Wii Christmas game, Wii 007 game), Put them in empty boxes with no covers (so no one knew what was inside). We then took six kids (ages 8-12) and had each kid hold each video & feel if it made them feel stronger or weaker. As the parent I would push down on the arm holding the video/game & could feel if it made them stronger or weaker. We then looked inside to see the results. It was fascinating.  The results were on target every time. The negative (violent–Destiny, 007, SourceCode) games would make the child weaker in their physical strength.     You may be skeptical at this moment, but I wanted someone else’s opinion. We were visiting my brother-in-law (Harvard grad) & thought he would be a perfect one to get in on this test, especially since his boys play video games non-stop!! He was a little skeptical and wanted to see it for himself. He took the games & tested them on his son. He couldn’t believe it!! He could literally see and feel the difference in the physical change. It was amazing!! Try it out yourself. Just know this—adults are a little more hard to determine because they try so hard to physically stay strong & you need to have harder (prob R) rated violence to get results. My belief—Adults are slightly jaded to negative energy. Try it and see for yourself. Good luck!!

if-we-understood-the-power-of-our-thoughts-betty-eadieWHAT ARE YOU SAYING? In this experiment we took the information from Dr. Emoto’s work with rice. Here is a link to his experiment: 

We did the same thing. We took rice & placed the same amount into two different containers. We labeled ours “I hate you. You are Stupid” and “I Love you” After about 2.5 weeks they both had mold, but the negative labeled rice had more mold. Many people have conducted this experiment and have been amazed at what happens. While I was at my daughter’s science fair I talked with a couple who had done this experiment with their family over a year ago. They shared how the positive rice never got mold & is still mold free after a year. WOW!! They said the Negative rice turned black.

Here was another great illustration of this idea:

plant-thought-experiment-love-511x315To begin, the children were given 2 plastic containers with a bunch of green beans and cotton pads. The task was to grow the beans sprouts in 2 separate containers, one marked with ”Love” & the other container marked with “Anger”. Each day they were to talk to the green beans. The container with “Love”, they had to say all sorts of positive things, direct their positive energy toward it and talk to it with love and compassion.  On the other hand, for the container marked with “Anger”, they had to direct anger and talk to it negatively, even to shout at it. After one week, they brought their 2 containers of beans sprouts with much enthusiasm and showed me the visible difference in terms of how the growth of the beans sprouts.  See photographs below. One could visibly see the “Love” beans sprouts grew healthily taller with luscious leaves whereas the beans sprouts in “Anger” containers had stunted growth or some died prematurely with dried leaves. – See more at: http://yourpresenceheals.com/love-vs-anger/#sthash.XQ5iIL9d.dpuf

Try it out and see for yourself. It is a good experiment to try with your family & share the lesson of how words have an affect.

dog_listening_to_ipodWHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO? We did some research on music and its affect and the results were pretty amazing and also disturbing. We came across David Merrill’s project on Music and Mice. Here is the description of the experiment. It is pretty alarming. Sixteen-year-old David Merrill, a student at Nansemond River High School in Suffolk, Va., thought that the loud sounds of hard-rock music must have a bad effect on its devoted fans and came up with a way to test that damage.
Merrill got 72 mice and divided them into three groups: one to test a mouse’s response to hard rock, another to the music of Mozart and a control group that wouldn’t listen to any music at all, rock or classical.
The young vivisectionist got all the mice accustomed to living in aquariums in his basement, then started playing music 10 hours a day. Merrill put each mouse through a maze three times a week that originally had taken the mice an average of 10 minutes to complete.

Over time, the 24 control-group mice managed to cut about 5 minutes from their maze-completion time. The Mozart-listening mice cut their time back 8-and-a-half minutes.
But the hard-rock mice added 20 minutes to their time, making their average maze-running time 300 percent more than their original average.
Need we say more? Well maybe we do. Merrill told the Associated Press that he’d attempted the experiment the year before, allowing mice in the different groups to live together.
 “I had to cut my project short because all the hard-rock mice killed each other,” Merrill said. “None of the classical mice did that.” (taken from edu-cyberpg.com)

Another interesting experiment was Music and Plants done by In 1973 Dorothy Retallack at the Colorado Women’s College in Denver wrote a book The Sound of Music and Plants (it’s still for sale). Her research consisted of playing different music to identical groups of plants, one group got rock and another easy listening. After two weeks, the plants in the soothing-music area were uniform in size, lush and green, and were leaning between 15 and 20 degrees toward the radio. The plants in the rock music chamber had grown tall but were drooping, the flowers had faded and the stems were bending away from the radio. By the end of two weeks, most of the plants in the rock music chamber were dying whilst the easy listening ones were growing abundantly.

23-copy-copyAll the experiments were very useful in trying to find Positive vs Negative energy and how what we say, listen to, play, and watch can definitely have an impact on our lives. I challenge you to take this information to your families, do some of your own experiments to see for yourselves the positive and negative things we put into our daily lives.

-Peace to you. Heather