(AscendHealthy.com) – How does music affect you? Maybe it appeals to your emotions and frees your spirit, or maybe you can’t resist moving your body to a good beat. However you might respond to it, good music can make you feel incredible.
The right song can be magical. It may even be a key to preserving your most cherished memories. For some people suffering from dementia, music could be a lifeline to recovering the pieces of their past.
See How the Magic of Music Is Returning Lost Memories.
The Music of Our Past
When you hear a song from your childhood, what types of memories come to mind? Are they vivid and happy? You may find you’ve attached snippets of your past to much of the music you enjoy.
According to Psychology Today, this is because we use several parts of the brain to process music, so memories we associate with our favorite tunes end up encoded in multiple regions. The process may strengthen memories of the music you enjoy, as well as the events you experience alongside it, working like a mnemonic device.
The Mnemonics of Music
Mnemonic devices are memory-enhancing techniques you can use to improve your recall of specific items or events. It’s so effective that a study found that musical mnemonics are also effective learning tools for those with memory impairments from multiple sclerosis, dementia and even Alzheimer’s. By creating associations between unfamiliar and familiar memories, people or objects, you can reinforce new memories and strengthen your ability to pull them to the forefront. When a popular song from your childhood takes you back, it’s likely those mnemonic links that are keeping the memories so strong.
Turning Music Into Magic
When you apply this phenomenon to someone suffering from dementia, there’s a potential for magic. Programs using music therapy in memory care facilities have shared inspiring stories about patients finding lucidity and joy in the simple act of listening to familiar music. And it seems music sticks around, even when most other memories seem to have faded forever. Just like a favorite childhood song can take you back to fond memories of long ago, some dementia patients can tap into their past by listening to the right music.
Musician and weekly memory care singer, Erin Barker, has experienced the magic firsthand. She describes it with visible emotion: “I’ve seen patients who can’t even speak, but you start playing old singalongs, and suddenly they’re right there with all the other people who are engaged and singing along. They don’t miss a word.” Think about your favorite music and how grounding it can be, even if the song is decades old. You might get rusty on the lyrics if you don’t hear them for some time, but the song will almost always come back to you, along with any memories you’ve attached to it.
We’ve only just begun to discover music’s potential to ground and heal, but it could be an important tool in the future of memory research. Physiological responses aside, music moves us. It’s a part of who we are. It taps into the spirit, evoking something deep and genuine in each of us, and that may be where its greatest magic lies.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!
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