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  • midlifelove 9:12 am on September 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ABC, bipolar disorder, Black Dog Institute, country music, Cronulla Sharks, , , football, Gold Coast Titans, grunge rock, hostility, Mat Rogers, music and mood, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, , sadness, Soundgarden, Steve Rogers, suicide, tension, University of New South Wales, V for victory, Wallabies, Winston Churchill   

    Is Your Music Depressing You? 

    Music has an amazing ability to affect our moods for good and bad, sometimes without us realising it. Listen to Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Soundgarden and it’s likely you’ll encourage feelings of hostility, sadness, tension and fatigue, while repressing impulses for caring, relaxation, mental clarity and vigour. That’s what research shows grunge rock does.

    And it seems “depressing” country music has a lot to answer for.  A study which compared suicide rates in US cities with the proportion of country music played on the radio showed the higher the amount of country music played, the higher the suicide rate amongst white people.

    The authors suggest that country music may “nurture a suicidal mood through its concerns with problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and alienation from work”*.

    What Music Makes You Sad or Happy?

    That’s why researchers at the University of New South Wales, in association with the Black Dog Institute, are interested in finding out how people use music to manage their mood – and they’d like your help.

    Their on-line survey aims to evaluate whether people use music to manage their mood in various day to day situations; also whether people’s music choice varies according to their personality type and when they are depressed.

    Aussie Men At Risk

    Four times as many Australian men as women commit suicide. And like rugby league legend Steve Rogers, they may be the ones you’d least expect to want to make an early exit.

    Steve Rogers, father of former Wallaby and now Gold Coast Titans rugby league player Mat Rogers, appeared to “have it all” – the dream sporting career as one of the most outstanding Australian footballers of all time, then a successful business life as boss of his old team Sydney’s Cronulla Sharks to follow. A close friend reported that the night before he took his own life, the 51-year-old appeared “more than content, he seemed exuberant. “

    Said Mat Rogers in an ABC programme at the time: “As a person of his stature and as a public figure he found it really hard to talk about his problems with other people which therefore exacerbated the problem.”

    Taming the Black Dog

    That’s something The Black Dog Institute wants to change. ‘Black dog’ was the term Britain’s Wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill coined for depression – his own depression, and the logo for the institute plays on Churchill’s Second World War ‘V’ for victory sign.

    The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit, educational, research, clinical and community-oriented facility offering specialist expertise in depression and bipolar disorder attached to the Prince of Wales Hospital and affiliated with the University of New South Wales.

    *Jim Gundlach, J. – author, Steven Stack (1992) The Effect of Country Music on Suicide. Social Forces. 71(1): 211.

  • midlifelove 2:53 am on May 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , brain waves, breathing, elevate, , feeling good, heart patients, less pessimistic, limbic system, , motivate you, mozart effect tranquilliser, music, musical rhythms, positive vibes, pulse rates, ravi Shankar, regulation, relaxed alertness, , tension, valium   

    Can music change your mood and why? 

    feel music copy

    Can music change your mood and why?

    No matter what kind of music you listen to, it makes your mood better. That’s the startling finding that came from a study of US college students – and it didn’t make any difference whether they were listening to rock or Rachmaninoff, easy listening or Ravi Shankar.

    Overwhelmingly, they were more optimistic, joyful, friendly, relaxed, and calm after listening to music. If they were already feeling good, the positive vibes were increased, and if they were feeling down, music helped them feel less pessimistic and sad.

    Music proved successful in mood regulation, energy raising and tension reduction. The only emotion it didn’t affect seemed to be fear – which was neither raised nor lowered by music.

    How does music change mood?

    Music has measureable physical effects in lowering blood pressure, slowing or increasing breathing and pulse rates, and affecting brain waves. Music can:

    • Reduce stress: Music relaxes your muscles and reduces your breathing rate, both of which are directly related to stress.
    • Make you happy: Music can stimulate your body to produce serotonin (the happiness hormone) and so elevate your mood.
    • Alter your brain waves: Music can alter your brain wave pattern and so elevate your mood even after you stop listening to it.
    • Motivate you: Listening to motivating music can make you become more motivated yourself.

    Why does music change mood?

    Music stimulates not only the auditory cortex of the brain, but also the limbic system – the brain’s ancient – in evolutionary terms – emotional center. Because of this powerful emotional potential of music, it is even being used increasingly in treating the mentally ill.

    Certain types of musical rhythms bring about a state of relaxed alertness and physical calm through an alpha brainwave pattern, similar to the pattern created when you meditate. It is even claimed music can do in minutes what people strive to accomplish in weeks of meditative practice!

    Don Campbell, in his breakthrough book The Mozart Effect (Avon Books, 1997), states that listening to half an hour of classical music produced the same effect as 10 mg of the tranquilliser Valium for hospitalized heart patients.

    However some music can hook you back into repetitive patterns, so watch out for songs that carry bad memories. People who listen to romantic songs after breakups recover 10 times slower than those who don’t, so edit your playlist if you want to recover faster.

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