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BellaOnline's Attention Deficit Disorder Editor

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Using Music for ADD Motivation


When I was younger and certain music came on the radio, I noticed that it stirred emotions within me. Those emotions were connected to events that my memory related to that music. Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension will forever be associated with the funeral of one of my friends during my senior year in high school. Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl will always remind me of my first love. Joy to the World by Three Dog Night evokes my time with my dear Pekingese, Pugsley, who gave me something to live for. I used to change the words and sing it to him as we drove in the car. It always bothered me that scientists were not researching the reasons why music affected me so strongly. After all, if it affected me, didn't it do the same to other people? Surely, this effect could be harnessed! Now, it seems, research is catching up with my creativity and curiosity that travels along with my Attention Deficit Disorder!

Our brains have many areas and systems that govern our minds, bodies, and ultimately, our lives. The limbic system rules our emotions. This system is several brain structures working to regulate emotions and form new memories about past experiences. It also helps with the regulation of behavior, motivation, and the sense of smell. When it comes to getting things done, the limbic system is a large part of motivating a person into action.

Our brains are electrical and run on chemical energy. Brainwaves occur when neurons communicate with each other. Different types of brainwaves signal various activities. Beta waves happen when the brain is alert and working. It is engaged in the tasks that are taking place. Alpha waves arise when the mind is reflecting on a subject, is relaxed, or in a non-aroused state. Theta waves signal daydreaming and creativity. Delta waves are slow restorative waves that are often associated with sleep. Some people believe that brainwaves can be affected by music. A small amount of research has been done, and some supports that hypothesis. There is also a small body of research showing that affecting alpha waves by using electrical stimulation of the brain increases creativity. What if you could affect alpha waves by using music as the stimulative impulse? Some pieces of music are engineered to have a specific effect on the brain. They claim to increase concentration, energy, creativity, and alpha waves. Little research has been done to validate these claims. Whether the claims are validated by research, or not, the listener is the ultimate arbiter of how a piece of music affects them and their mental state.

When you listen to music, pay attention to how it makes you feel. Music has been linked to the limbic system. When we hear a piece of music from our past, it evokes memories and emotions. These emotions can be harnessed to help alleviate some of the negative symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder. Arousal is affected by music. Music can enhance motivation. It can also elevate a mood. Think back to the times when you were most productive. What was the music of your life? Make a playlist of those songs. Youtube is a good way to get a diverse selection. I make a desktop playlist that is easy to access on my computer by copying the urls into a word document. Then, I can just go to the song on the document, hit control and click the url. Suddenly, there's music! Choose songs that energize you and make you feel creative. Use songs for different purposes. Then, make a conscious effort to use those songs when you are working on tasks where you might lack motivation.

As you go through your day, play the music of your life. What do you need to do today? If you need to concentrate or study, put on music designed to help with that! Van Morrison helps me write. Especially, These are the Days. It make me feel resolute. Stressed out? Find the music that smooths you out. I love to listen to Carlos Nakai's flute music. Need to clean that dreadful kitchen? I put on music from The Band's Last Waltz. Forever Young and The Weight with The Staples Singers gets me moving. When I need to exercise, it is a Bob Seger day. Exercycle? Give me Born to be Wild!,Once upon a time when I aspired to a really tidy house, I used Willie Nelson's Phases and Stages and Harry Chapin's Greatest Stories Live to push me into cleaning. By the time those vinyl albums were done, so was I. My DVD copies keep getting lost in our collection. Now, I've found both on youtube and added them to my desktop playlist. Maybe, just maybe, my house will reap the rewards of my listening to those motivating albums!

Resources:
Music Memory and Emotion
The Biology of Music
What is the Function of the Various Brain Waves
Scientists use brain stimulation to boost creativity, set stage to potentially treat depression
Details of Information Processing Revealed
Binaural Beats


This is the best music for relaxation that I have ever found. It is especially helpful if you are sitting with somebody in the hospital.

Zen Garden (Music for Deep Sleep, Meditation, Spa, Healing, Relaxation)


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Content copyright © 2015 by Connie Mistler Davidson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Connie Mistler Davidson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Mistler Davidson for details.

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