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Dr Daniel and Tana Amen walkthrough the pieces on their latest collaboration album with producer Barry Goldstein. The Album is a companion piece for Dr Daniel Amen’s latest book, Your Brain Is Always Listening.
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain spect imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
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Welcome back. We are with our dear friend, Barry Goldstein, and we’re talking about Your Brain is Always Listening to Music album, which I believe you guys can find pretty much anywhere, right, that music is sold.
Yeah, so we’re talking about the effect of music on different people, how it really can affect mood and even help, how it’s used in therapy, and it’s just so fascinating to me how different types of music affect people differently.
And we know what kind of music makes you angry.
Oh, we’re talking about me specifically?
We know what type of music gets you pumped up.
Yeah. And at my funeral, I want you guys not to play sad music that makes everybody cry.
Well, I think if we play Def Leppard-
Guns N’ Roses.
Guns … yeah. It’ll be weird.
No, it will be what I want. It’s a happier setting.
Well, [crosstalk [00:01:52]-
You want to play When the Saints Go Marching in at yours.
Yeah. I love Louis Armstrong, too.
How about you, Barry, since we’re talking about-
I was talking to Tana about that. I want to play Could it Be I’m Falling in Love by The Spinners, which actually just has always put me in a very happy state, and it’s also my wife’s favorite song.
Your brain is always listening. That’s the title of my new book, Tame the Hidden Dragons That Control Your Happiness Habits and Hangups. And we’ve done other albums based on the work that I was doing, Brain Warrior’s Way, Music for Bright Minds, Memory Rescue, Resource, Feel Better Fast, and Make it Last, totally music fits with that. But none better than your brain is always listening. Do you want it to listen to things that help you or things that hurt you?
And I’m so grateful you did this collaboration with me. I mean, the truth is Barry did all the work. I just talked through some of the ideas. [crosstalk [00:03:20] I put that on my resume. [crosstalk [00:03:22] We’ve been on Billboard’s new age chart for 70 weeks or more, and people love this music. It’s really important. They love your skill. They love your talent, and it matters. Walk us through the different pieces on the album, and then let’s talk about appropriate uses for it to help people.
As you walk us through, what was your intention? What are those pieces supposed to help you feel or do?
Yeah, absolutely. And I just want to say too that I feel it is a very complementary collaboration with us because you have an overview of what you know you wanted to voice through the book. And the whole point is to have a companionship album that works with complementing your book in an experiential way. Knowing what pieces you wanted on there were very important, and then it allowed me to run with those pieces, because you gave me the focus of where to go with it. And also the research behind it that you’ve done within music and the brain is phenomenal, so doing this together to me is very much a collaboration.
Yeah, when we spoke initially, I know that it was important to both of us to have a piece of music that people can use for anxiety. Where we are in terms of what’s going on in the world over the last year, and even moving into the following years, there’s been even more reported anxiety, more mental illness around things, and I wanted to give people a tool that when they listen to the piece of music, that they felt like every day was a completely new day, that no matter what went on in their previous day, that they could erase the slate when they put on this piece of music.
And I wanted that to be conveyed compositionally and thematically and symbolically with that. It starts off with wind chimes coming in and just gentle sparkles that are symbolic of the sun coming in. And then it grows as your day opens up. You move into your day with energy and it moves into an expansive day where things are working with you. You’re in collaboration with a beneficial universe, not against you. And so I really wanted to convey that and using specific patterns, using specific chord progressions, using specific tones, and that really plays into how our brain interprets the music. And so that was New Day, and its goal is to help you release anxiety.
And the next piece is called Thankful. And we talked a little bit about that music for appreciating your life. And again, when I was composing that piece, I was thinking of all the things that I had to be thankful for. And I would listen back and forth to the music and say, “Does this convey it? Does this passage feel like that?” And so it was also about being thankful is targeting the heart because the heart moves to that state of appreciation. I wanted the music to also bring you into states of coherence. Our target’s the heart at a relaxed state at 60 beats per minute, and enables you to entrain to that so you’re able to synchronize and your heartbeats are more smoother and more orderly as you connect to gratitude. And there’s an organization called HeartMath that I’m sure you’re familiar with.
We know them well.
Yeah. And they talk about that, if we can move into these orderly rhythms in our heart, how that affects not just our heart, but our brain. And there’s more science and research showing that when you move into these states where you’re in appreciation, there’s a communication going on between the heart and the brain. And actually when we’re in that coherent heart state, our brain wave, a new study has shown that our brain waves are producing more alpha brain waves when our hearts are in these coherent states.
One way people can test this is if you have an Apple Watch, Apple Watches actually measure heart rate variability, which is the big thing from HeartMath-
… is heart rate variability. You can actually measure your heart rate variability ahead of time, and then you can listen to the different pieces of music and see if they impact your heart rate variability. That would actually be super simple study, Barry, for you and I to do. [crosstalk [00:08:31] We could probably get 500 people without Apple Watches to just listen to it before and after, record and send us their responses, because heart rate variability is not only a sign of heart health, it’s a sign of brain health and mind health.
Absolutely. And a lot of people are also using the aura rings for the HRV to measure that as well. We should reach out to people and have them play that second piece and see what the results are, because I have people already reporting that HRV has become more optimal in listening to our music. It would be interesting to do that.
And the third piece?
Yeah, so the third piece is called Relaxation Bridge. With Relaxation Bridge, my intention was really for people to be able to hit the zone. That’s a place to athletes describe when they’re not in their thinking mind, right, when they just tap into something and [crosstalk [00:09:37] nowhere, and also within meditation as well. If you can listen to a piece of music and say, “Wow, I think for that five minutes, I wasn’t thinking of anything. I just went to the zone.”
I use patterns using singing bowls. It really allow you to synchronize to that rhythm and just move into a zone where you’re moving into a trance state. Patterns can be very conducive to moving into that zone where you have something to hold on to. There’s a distinct pattern, but it’s not distracting at the same time. I was able to accomplish that with singing bowls, creating soothing tones, calming melodies in it as well, and I love to add the celestial elements to that also, and voice into that because people feel comforted when they hear voices in there as well. That was something that we tried that was a little bit different on this album that I remember, Daniel, when you listened to it, you were like, I” really love the way that you utilized voice on some of these pieces.” And that’s the thing. On every album that we’re doing, I want it to be different yet transformational for people so they have different tools that they can use.
And for the last piece, we have a piece called Bedtime Bliss. Again, I think of bedtime … I think of music as nutrition, just like meals. We have our morning piece here, which is New Day. We have our piece for lunchtime that you can use. That’s Thankful, right? You plug them into your day. In the evening, I think of that type of music as kind of like dessert, something for your musical sweet tooth that just bridges your busy days into more restful nights, because most of us are going from these high and fast brain wave states, high beta, where we’re very active during our day. We’re still probably on social networks at night and we’re looking at some of the YouTubes that we did or we’re editing still because that’s what we do, and we’re not allowing enough time to bridge. This piece really works with slowing those brain waves down.
And I suggest that people listen to it about an hour before bedtime. You could just gently put it on in the background and start to make it something that’s a ritual for you, something that’s sacred because you need your sleep. It’s not just something that you have to do. It’s something that you get to do. Every day, you’re going to sleep and you’re waking up again and it’s very important that you get your sleep. Utilizing a piece of music as nourishment in this way, that you’re putting into your emotional body as well that allows you to calm down at the end of your day and say, “Wow, this is my time that I get to wind down before sleep, just slow down,” and I encourage people to use this. Use it for 30 days. Don’t just use it randomly and say, “Wow, that helped but I don’t know how much.” Use it for 30 days, because if you’re having challenges sleeping, it’s probably something that has occurred from something that you’ve been doing habitually for many years.
Right. I love that. It’s about habit. We’re going to start, we’re calling it a breaking bad [crosstalk [00:13:22] challenge in July, so 21 days to breaking bad habits, and you break bad habits by replacing them. Tana always says, “Replace, don’t erase.” And people can use Your Brain is Always Listening as a therapeutic program to enhance appreciation and gratitude to start every day with a new day. We do something called positivity bias training. Start every day with, “Today is going to be a great day,” and sleep and then getting in the zone while I’m typing, because sometimes people see me typing. Usually I’m just keeping notes. I’m like, “Oh, I need to send Relaxation Bridge to one of my athletes to help her get in the zone so the chatter in her mind isn’t taking over,” but she can leave that behind actually. Psychological distance is critical.
Anyways, Barry, we appreciate you so much. Thank you for being on the Brain Warrior’s Way. Tell people again how they can get their copy of Your Brain is Always Listening.
Yep. It’s available on iTunes, on Amazon, Spotify and Apple Music. And yeah. I just really love to see that we’ve done together. And one last thing is that you can also just have it on in the background because just like you love this title, Daniel, I love it also because your brain is always listening, it actually brings in a different way to listen to music. If you just even put it on gently, you don’t have to be actively listening. You can just have it on and you will notice that something is changing in your environment. I’m honored to do this work with you. And obviously our intention is that this helps many, many people out there. I hope people will enjoy it and share it with their friends as well, and I’m excited to collaborate with you on this.
Barry, thank you, my friend.
So wonderful. Thank you.
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