Happiness, The Projects

Project: Make an Amazing Playlist

As I sit here on January 2nd, 2016 I am starting the new year afresh.

One thing that I have not sat down and done in a while is put together an incredible playlist.  The effects of a music track we love are magical.  They truly are.  The thrill, the rush, the connect of our minds and emotions to a great beat – there are physiological responses, but also psychological responses.

Fast Company magazine produced a great article on the science behind what music does to our brains, you can read it right here.

The moment you find an incredible, addictive track is magic.  The lingering desire to listen to it over and over, and over.

Beyond pleasure, harness the benefits of a great play list by only allowing yourself to listen to it during workout time.

I use Soundcloud & construct playlists from tracks that I find on there.  Last year, while training for a trail half marathon, I put together two lists.  To this day they are still on my soundcloud and every time I hear those tracks, I am transported right back to running along single track trails on a fresh, sunny mountain day.

If you consciously and specifically align play lists with particular life experiences, you will lock your memory in.  Another great example is from 2012.

In 2012 I went on an unbelievable backpacking trip to Thailand – not gonna lie, I day dream about it every day.  As I was constructing a playlist for that trip, I heard one song and got the tingles – that early excited feeling – that one where you know you have come across a song you will become obsessed with.  Instantly I saved that song for a special moment on our trip.  I saved it for one sparkling blue day when we were on a ferry, cruising across the Andaman sea to a tropical island off the west coast of Thailand.  At that moment I pulled out my playlist and listened to that song over and over.

To. This. Day every time I hear that song, I am transported in vivid detail right back to the deck of that ferry, breathing in the fresh air. I so clearly remember the feeling of freedom, wild abandon, pure joy for life that I felt on that care-free backpacking trip to Thailand.  Normally, I can’t access memories in that astounding level of detail – down to sight, sound, smell, taste, emotion.  But linked with music, I can.

The early research into Alzheimer’s disease & music therapy demonstrates that interlinking music and memory is powerful – so powerful it is used against one of the most debilitating diseases of the brain.   Read about it here.

Granted, you may have to get up at 6am one morning – or do it late at night – kid free – so you can indulge with some earphones and get lost in the hunt for great music  (I use reddit, youtube and the search tool on Soundcloud to find similar tracks to ones I have previously loved.) But it is so worth it when you feel the natural high of an amazing song.  And even more worth it when you connect that song with a special memory, or time in your life.

Out of every “hunting session” for great music, I would say I find great tracks, but those gems – the natural high songs – take a bit more effort.  But the reward is so much greater when some searching effort was put in, right?

Tell me, do you have a song which is strongly connected with a powerful memory?  What are your “I am OBSESSED” tracks at the moment?

If you are curious, my Soundcloud profile & all playlists are here and my “obsessed song” as of January 2nd is… drumroll… Jamie XX – Loud Places


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