Music and Memory

Music has always helped people express emotions and feeling to the world, it has also helped people explore frontiers of spirituality, healing, concentration and Alzheimer’s

One of my favorite research topic of 2015 was about the effect music has on a person’s memory. It fascinated me so much that I started reading medical papers and research about what exactly happens in the human brain while listening to music and can it be helpful to us in some or the other way.

Guess what Music can actually help us in a lot of ways, and that does not include moving on after a breakup ūüėČ but on a serious note, it helps us focus, heal, study and in some cases reduce the effects of dementia. Don’t believe me? Stick around for a while and I will prove that to you.

Music, as we all know, is something which has always been closer to our hearts, remember the time when your feet started moving or your fingers started tapping just after hearing your favorite song on the internet. Well it does have a scientific explanation to it and it has to do a lot with neuroscience, It’s not that boring trust me I will try to explain it in simple words.

The image on the left is well an edited picture of your brain and on the right is an edited picture of neurons which reside within your brain. To be precise they are the building blocks of your Nervous system which include your brain. And for those of who are not aware neurons form a major portion of your brain, you have as many as 100 billion (100,000,000,000) neurons in your brain right now (that is a lot!!). These neurons serve as a messenger in your body and transmit and receive impulses in the form of electricity via talking to adjacent neurons gathering data from all organs and submitting it to the brain for further processing.

So the talking or communication between two neurons is called neural pathway which is an important concept to understand how music helps patients with dementia to remember memories from the past. So when you listen to your favorite music at a party or while studying to dance or focus the type of music you listen to have a big effect on these neurons which helps you in a certain way to dance like a wild party animal or to study long hours at the library.

Ever wondered your brain getting with millions of neurons while listening to a beautiful symphony or Rock song. Well, now you know how your brain is responding the next time you listen to your favorite beats, below-shown diagram is an MRI image of the same.

brain on music
Source: Soundmattersblog.com Brain on Music

Coming to the next part of our blog, how is music helping people with dementia and Alzheimers. There is an active research going on at Alzheimer’s foundation of America,¬†Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging of Hunter College, CUNY, and many other medical institutes. There are dedicated websites which are completely focused on this research some of which are Music&Memory,¬†Alzheimer’s foundation of America, Brain Journal¬†and much more.
I also came across a documentary on Netflix called ‘Alive Inside‘ which is completely related to the topic we are discussing, and it’s so well directed that critics have appreciated that documentary for a long time. In the film, there are several cases which have been shown beautifully how patients with Alzheimer’s respond to music giving their loved ones a hope to communicate and connect with them.

Watch an excerpt from the Movie ‘Alive Inside’ here.

So how does music do it? How is it helping people remember stuff from their past who normally cannot even recognize their own family members?
According to¬†Alzheimer’s foundation of America its because:

This happens because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses require little to no cognitive or mental processing. They are influenced by the motor center of the brain that responds directly to auditory rhythmic cues. A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease process because, again, these activities do not mandate cognitive functioning for success.

src : Alzheimers foundation of America website

Music has always been an important part of humans life since ages it has been used to heal from within, or to go to a complete state of relaxation while doing meditation or hypnotherapy or towards inducing the brain in a trance state after consumption of Ayahuasca which is a brew made by Shamans which after consuming can show you a completely different universe within your mind.

So take out your headphones and lit your neurons on fire!!
If there are any questions related to the topic please comment below or email me at rohanshirodkar29@gmail.com. I will surely answer all your questions. 

What is true Happiness?

Is happiness a mental state, or an induced state by material possession. This post tries to explain what is happiness and how can one be happy at all times.

Before starting with the post, I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a happy & prosperous new year which is about to begin, may the coming year bring more happiness and love in your life than ever.

So coming back to the post. This post is about happiness and it’s importance in today’s time more than ever. Also some tips on how you can always be happy.
When I say the word Happiness the first thing that pops up in your wonderful brain is the personal definition of happiness which is true to you as an Individual. So what’s happiness and how some people are always happy (or most of the time)? Does happiness depend on money or the things we possess in this life, what exactly is happiness?

Happiness, as I define on my personal terms, is just a simple feeling within our mind which we experience throughout our body at times when things are the way we want them to be.

So why can’t we be happy at all times, why are people depressed and why do we care so much about happiness anyways?
There are many reasons for that, those reasons fall into different categories one of them is biology and it says that happiness is induced in our body by secretions of happy hormones like Serotonin, Endorphin, Dopamine. The next category has a spiritual base which says that being happy is our true state (blissful state or Nirvana state) is our original form and our every action should be towards achieving and being in that state.

But people get in an illusion that the state of Nirvana is easily achieved by attaching happiness with material things like Money, Cars, lavish lifestyle, possessing big houses etc. you get the idea. And then we wonder why people commit crimes, abuse others verbally/physically, use drugs and alcohol out of proportion. It all has to do with that person achieving happiness on a personal level. We do not gain the same happiness by performing actions which others find happiness in. For Eg: Some might find happiness in playing some sport, some might find it in dancing and some might find it while researching on space. It varies so much because everyone has their own definition of happiness. But all these happiness come nowhere close to the happiness one gains in a meditative state. It might come as a shock to some people hearing this for the first time that a person meditating by closing his eyes in an isolated environment with no thoughts of ego in his mind is hundred times happier than a billionaire¬†celebrating his birthday on a private island with the most luxurious¬†things in his possession. Well, its not just any happiness we are talking here it’s a blissful state of existence¬†which we all experience before birth and after death.

And that is also one of the reasons why people love to use psychedelics because they get a glimpse of that feeling for a small time. Spiritually aware people who have never used drugs in their entire life are always in that state and if not can consciously create that feeling whenever and wherever they want.
There are many people who suffer today with depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders and many such disorders related to mental states because of various factors which may or may not have been in their control. But taking the easy way out by indulging in fast food, overuse of drugs and drinking alcohol will just shift your mental state for a couple of hours what about later?

A person who has a daily wage job, living with family, having 2 meals a day can be happier than a person who lives in a mansion with his family and has 4 meals a day. How’s that possible some may wonder, the answer lies in expectation of a person with his life? Now some may argue at this point that without money you won’t be able to educate your children or have 2 good meals a day also live in livable conditions at home, they are correct and I personally think so too that in whatever conditions we are born in we should not be satisfied with them and we should try and change them for giving ourselves and our family a good life, also if we have more than enough then giving others food or money can definitely make you happy and add to some good karma points in your life ūüėČ . But then again your continuous struggle towards earning more stuff will make you sad, at that point, you can compare yourself with those who are happy and content with whatever they have in their life. You would have definitely observed that the generation that has lived before you have been happier than your generation. Have you ever thought of the reason behind it? Why has my grandfather always been happy with a simple lifestyle and never suffered any type of depression, the answer is simple we are moving towards a generation where we think the more things we possess the happier our lives will be, which is not true as you might have come to know till now, if not this is the best time to think about it.

So to end the post with few lines I would tell you that being happy has always been easy and it’s how you define happiness is the only thing which is going to make difference in your life on a personal level. But for eternal bliss and staying happy in a more impactful way you can start meditating and see the difference for yourself.

Comment your experiences, Like this post and Share them on facebook if you think it will help others.
Ciao..