Listen: Music for Mindfulness and Solace

…relaxation, happiness, exercise! It’s been proven that music can help calm the savage beast / ancient brain. It can also energize parts of the brain when you exercise (which is very cool, indeed). More coming here, soon!

Listen Right Now – Relaxing Songs for Solace and Contemplation

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Why is Music Healthy?

For many, music has properties that can soothe the savage (or anxious) beast in us, as this  piece in the New York Times explains, brain imaging research has shown that:

“music that people described as highly emotional engaged the reward system deep in their brains — activating subcortical nuclei known to be important in reward, motivation and emotion.Subsequently we found that listening to what might be called “peak emotional moments” in music — that moment when you feel a “chill” of pleasure to a musical passage — causes the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, an essential signaling molecule in the brain. When pleasurable music is heard, dopamine is released in the striatum — an ancient part of the brain found in other vertebrates as well — which is known to respond to naturally rewarding stimuli like food and sex and which is artificially targeted by drugs like cocaine and amphetamine. But what may be most interesting here is when this neurotransmitter is released: not only when the music rises to a peak emotional moment, but also several seconds before, during what we might call the anticipation phase. The idea that reward is partly related to anticipation (or the prediction of a desired outcome) has a long history in neuroscience. Making good predictions about the outcome of one’s actions would seem to be essential in the context of survival, after all. And dopamine neurons, both in humans and other animals, play a role in recording which of our predictions turn out to be correct.”

The Ancient Brain isn’t always a Bad Thing! As the above explanation makes clear, there is an ancient reward system in the brain, as well–how else would we enjoy food, procreation, and other pleasures and delights as creatures? 😉 It should come as no surprise, then, that music can act as one of those “naturally rewarding stimuli.” We at The Ancient Brain listen to background ambient music most days. To help you do the same, we’ve compiled a list of some online resources to help you make calming music a part of your daily routine. Whether it’s listening while you work, or reading or at bedtime, relaxing music has proven benefits for our busy brains.

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Links to Calming Music

  • Relax Radio. This is one of the official Ancient Brain radio stations on Grooveshark, which is a very cool site.
  • Sounds True. A choice of various styles of calming music, from new age to mediation and back. Lovely relaxation music.
  • YouTube channel: Daily Relaxation. There are many stations on YouTube featuring relaxing music. This is a nice one.
  • Pandora Relaxation Radio. The well known music service has lots of  music to relax and calm.
  • iheart radio. Popular, relatively new online radio station where you can create your own station or listen to others.

Calming Music on YouTube


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