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How Music Can Change The Way You Feel And Act

Music is present in every part of our lives. Our spiritual rituals are framed with songs, children learn the alphabet through song and the malls and cafes we visit during our leisure time are rarely silent.

But just how much can this ever-present thing impact us – and the way we act and feel? Research suggests music can influence us a lot. It can impact illness, depression, spending, productivity and our perception of the world.

Some research has suggested it can increase aggressive thoughts, or encourage crime.

Recently, a UK study explored how “drill” music – a genre of rap characterized by threatening lyrics – might be linked to attention-seeking crime. That’s not new, but the emergence of social media allows more recording and sharing.

The content of these songs is about gang rivalry, and unlike other genres, the audience might judge the performer based on whether he will follow through with what he claims in his lyrics, writes the study’s author, Craig Pinkney, a criminologist and lecturer at the University College Birmingham, in the UK.

Beside music, the paper looks at social media’s role in fueling violence. The online platforms readily used by many, have given gang rivalries the chance to move online and encourage comments from supporters and opposing groups, which only adds to the pressure to react.

However, there are multiple reasons for the rise in crime, according to Pinkney. He explains that poverty, deprivation, racism, poor leadership, lack of corporate investments, lack of opportunities and resources also contribute.

Daniel Levitin, professor of psychology and music at McGill University in Canada, points out that it is difficult to analyze whether music can create violence.

Studies have very mixed evidence, and mostly use observational data instead of controlled experiments that can take into account people’s personality. People who are already prone to violence might be drawn to violent music, Levitin explained. But that doesn’t mean everybody who enjoys hat music is violent.

“When you’ve got violent behaviors that mimic something that’s out there in the music or art world it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the art caused the person to become violent,” he added. “But just because it’s easy to conclude it doesn’t mean that it’s true.”

Fact: Some experts argue
violent lyrics, across music genres,
can incite aggressive thoughts.

 

Another paper, published in 2003 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, reported that music can incite aggressive thoughts and feelings. During five experiments with 75 female and 70 male college students, those who heard a violent song were shown to feel more hostile than those who heard a nonviolent song, from the same artist and style.

The study showed that violent songs led to more aggressive thoughts in three different measures: More aggressive interpretations when looking at ambiguous words, an increased speed with which people read aggressive compared to non-aggressive words and a greater proportion of people completing aggressive words when filling in blanks on forms given to them during the study.

One way to put these findings, say the authors, is that participants who listened to violent rock songs then interpret the meaning of ambiguous words such as “rock” and “stick” in an aggressive way.
The study adds that the outcomes of hostile thoughts could be short-lived. If the next song’s lyrics are nonviolent or if some other nonviolent event occurs, the effects of violent lyrics will dissipate, states the paper.

Meanwhile, other types of music been been used in attempts to prevent crime, according to musicologist Lily E. Hirsch’s book “Music in American Crime Prevention and Punishment.

Hirsch wrote about how classical music was used to deter loitering in her hometown of Santa Rosa, California. In 1996, she wrote, city leaders decided to play classical music to clear young people from the city’s Old Courthouse Square. Many teens didn’t enjoy the music, according to Hirsch, and left the area, which encouraged the city to keep the background music playing.

The effectiveness of music as a crime prevention measure has to do with sound’s construction of who we are but also with who we are not, wrote Hirsch, a visiting scholar at California State University, Bakersfield. We often identify with music based on who we think we are, Hirsch told CNN in an email.

“If you see classical music as music of the fancy, white elite, you might think, ‘I am not any of those things,’ and then disassociate yourself from the music,” leading to, for example, leaving this area, she said. In this situation, people identify themselves in the negative – namely, who they are not – through certain music, Hirsch explained. People are still surprised by this usage of music, she added. But music has “always been used in a variety of ways, positive and negative,” Hirsch said.

Music can make us feel all sorts of emotions, some of which are negative, added Laurel Trainor, professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior and director of the McMaster Institute for music and the mind.

It can “bring people together and fuel these social bonds,” this can be positive as well as negative, according to her. For example, as far back as we have records, music has been used in war, explained Trainor, because it brought people together socially.

Music has power over our feelings. No other species has evolved in such a way to ascribe meaning and create emotional responses to music as humans, she added.

Power over feelings

Everyone can relate to the experience of listening to a melancholic playlist and then not being able to escape the mood. But, according to research, even how we perceive the world around us can be influenced by music.

Researchers at the University of Groningen showed in an experiment that listening to sad or happy music can not only put people in a different mood, but also change what people notice.

In a 2011 study, 43 students listened to happy or sad music in the background as they were tasked with identifying happy and sad faces. When happy music was played participants spotted more happy faces and the opposite was true for sad music.

The researchers argue that this could be because the perceptual decision on our sensory stimuli, in the experiment’s case the face expressions, are directly influenced by our state of mind.

But if music can change our mood and perception, the question remains if that is a good thing.

Another recent study says it depends. People with clinical depression tendencies were found to feel worse after listening to sad music. On the other hand, those who didn’t have these tendencies reported feeling better after listening to sad music. It helps work through emotions and fosters connections between people, previous research said.

The study included people with and without depression and found that both groups felt better after listening to happy music.

Fact: Listening to sad music 
can be an effective way to deal with our emotions 
according to research by the Western Sydney University.

Levitin believes that “the weight of evidence is that music can help depression” because it offers people a distraction. During clinical depression, however – which is a different thing, Levitin added – the person is disengaged and might not want to engage with music.

Influencing daily tasks

Away from mood and emotions, music can also affect simple actions like how much money we spend or how productive we are, research shows.

People who dance and actively engage with music were found to be happier than others, who didn’t engage with music in that way, according to a 2017 study from Australia. The researchers interviewed 1,000 participants over the phone and looked at their subjective wellbeing scores – their individual evaluations of life satisfaction. The people who danced and attended music events had significantly higher subjective wellbeing scores than those who didn’t engage with music in these ways. People actively engaging with music in a group also had higher scores than others who enjoyed music in these ways while alone.

“At the most fundamental level,” Levitin explained that happy music tends to have an up-beat tempo “and we know neutrons fire in synchrony to the beat of the music and so happy music can actually energize you.”

But the task needs to be considered. During repetitive or boring tasks you can get drowsy and music can work as a stimuli “which allows you to do a better job.” If the task is more complex, “music is harmful” because it acts like a distraction to our concentration.

Music triggers the hormones oxytocin and serotonin, responsible for bonding, trust and intimacy, explained Levitin.

Trainor thinks that it is “part of our biological heritage” that music has not just a positive side to social bonding but also a negative one. “We need to recognize that if we want to use music in positive ways.”

By Nina Avramova, CNN     Wed February 20, 2019
This feature is part of Music and Your Mind, a series exploring how music affects your brain.
Read part 2 on healing and part 3 on torture.
source: www.cnn.com
Health-Benefits-of-music-quote

Turns Out Your Music Playlist
Really Does Affect Your Workout

Whether you prefer pop, rock or hip-hop, the kind of music on your workout playlist can make a difference.

According to a new study, high-tempo music can reduce the amount of perceived effort of a workout and help boost cardiovascular benefits more than slower tempos. The tempo of the music needs to equate to about 170 heartbeats per minute, researchers say.

The new study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, and researchers discovered that music can boost your mood before exercise and inspire bursts of effort, performance and endurance, all while minimizing perceptions of pain and fatigue.

“We found that listening to high-tempo music while exercising resulted in the highest heart rate and lowest perceived exertion compared with not listening to music,” study author Luca Ardigo, a professor at the University of Verona in Italy, said in a statement. “This means that the exercise seemed like less effort, but it was more beneficial in terms of enhancing physical fitness.”

The study examined 19 active women of various ages during endurance workouts under four conditions: without music, with music at 90-110 beats per minute (bpm), with music at 130-150 bpm and with music at 170-190 bpm. The study found the effects were greatest for endurance exercise, such as brisk walking, running, biking and swimming, than for high-intensity exercises such as weightlifting, jump roping, speed walking and high intensity interval training, according to CNN.

By Crystal Villarreal             The Atlanta Journal-Constitution               Wed., Feb. 5, 2020


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Study Finds Alcohol Makes You Aggressive; Pot, Pretty Much the Opposite

Pot heads are mellow, drunks can be mean. That’s the common wisdom, and now, thanks to a group of researchers from the Netherlands, it has some scientific validation. In a just-published study in the journal Psychopharmacology, they found that—doh!—people on  booze act out, while people on pot peacefully space out.

“The results in the present study support the hypothesis that acute alcohol intoxication increases feelings of aggression and that acute cannabis intoxication reduces feelings of aggression,” the researchers concluded.

The study itself sounds like fun. In a random, controlled trial, the researchers recruited 21 heavy pot smokers (at least three times a week), 20 heavy drinkers (at least three drinks a day for men, two for women), and a control group of 20 who used neither substance heavily.

alcohol_agression

They then had the drinkers drink until they were too drunk to legally drive (0.08% blood alcohol level) and the tokers vape up 300 micrograms of THC per kilogram of body weight, enough to get them nicely baked. The control group, being the control group, missed out on the intoxicants.

Then all three groups completed a number of tests designed to get people wound up. In one, subjects played a computer game in which the object was to win money by pressing buttons, but players’ efforts were undermined by an “adversary” that took money from them. The adversary was actually part of the computer program. In a second test, known as a “single category implicit association test,” subjects were shown images of violent and aggressive behavior and asked to match positive and negative words to the photos.

The researchers measured aggression by asking the subjects to rate how aggressive they felt on a 100-point scale, and weighed that against a baseline score established by asking them the same question before they had gotten wasted. And they ran the tests one more time a week later, with the same subjects, but without getting them high or drunk.

“Alcohol intoxication increased subjective aggression in the alcohol group,” the researchers found, but pot smokers became less aggressive when baked.

It wasn’t just subjective. While alcohol drinkers rated themselves as more aggressive when drunk, they were also found to be objectively more aggressive, as measured by their willingness to undermine their opponents in the computer game.

We already know that marijuana is a less harmful drug than alcohol, being both far less toxic and less addictive than booze. And now we get some scientific backing for something else that was already patently obvious.

By Phillip Smith       AlterNet       July 23, 2016       Hold the presses
Philip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.
source: www.alternet.org 

 

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Harm Caused By Drugs Table

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How to Reverse the Negative Effects of Marijuana Consumption

Every substance we put into our bodies has an impact on our mind and body functions. Marijuana is the most used illegal substance in the world. Millions of North Americans smoke marijuana occasionally (occasional users) while others use it on a regular basis (chronic users). As mentioned before, marijuana has a series of short and long term effects in several dimensions of the human body, and it’s not as light as presented, especially if there is an addiction or history of extended use, since often an addiction has tragic effects on the addict and their relatives. In this article we will address how to minimize the negative effects of marijuana. If you enjoy smoking or taking this drug, this could be a perfect way to minimize the possible guilt of using the substance and minimizing the negative side effects.

Minimizing and Reversing the Negative Effects of Chronic Marijuana Consumption

• Most people who use smoke their marijuana. Try using a vaporizer to minimize the side effects of the smoke in lungs. Marijuana could be a risk factor in pulmonary diseases like bronchitis or emphysema.
• Give yourself a break! The best way to minimize the effects of marijuana is by taking progressively fewer doses and progressively sensitizing the brain to low quantities. Sensitize is a reverse toleration. Toleration is a common phenomenon in substance abuse and is described as the need for higher substance concentrations to get the same effect . This occurs at a molecular level, where there the neurons get used to a particular quantity of the metabolites involved. If you take a periodic breaks from smoking, from 1 day to 1+ years, you’ll find the effects are stronger, because the brain starts to rebuild and to rest from the intense neurochemical firing, particularly in the brain reward center. If you don’t wish to stop smoking at all, take a few breaks every now and then to rest your brain and lungs, and clean your liver and blood from the chemicals involved. If you cannot stop, it may be a warning sign that you are addicted to cannabis.
• Move your body. Exercise. Smoking harms the body in 1000 different ways and scientists are still learning the effects of smoking in each of our cells. Exercise improves circulation, oxygen absorption, and appropriate wasting of toxins. Exercise is a preventive measure for lung cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It improves cognitive function as well, use exercise to improve your cardiovascular, mood and energy levels.
• Cognitive training. There is a debate if the popular brain gym training pages that circulates through internet are beneficial or not. Some propose that these type of games won’t transfer to real world situations. However, some studies suggest a positive effect in everyday functional outcomes. Games like chess, memory match, scrabble, puzzles, or hand coordination games like jenga, may be beneficial and help the brain to function even better.
• Yoga and anxiety. Some people use marijuana to relieve stress and to avoid anxiety. If you are less anxious, you will probably decrease the desire to smoke. Yoga and meditation have been shown to decrease social anxiety in several populations and improve quality of life. The focused attention on breath and sensations have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
• Detox. The by-products in marijuana are stored in fatty acids and secreted by sweat, feces, and urine. Some of the metabolites can store in your body for months, depending in the doses taken and body fat. Try fasting or detoxification with raw food and juice smoothies.

cannabis-infographic
By Andres Carvajal         Edited by Stephanie Dawson        Aug 19, 2013
 
Sources
  • Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15, 593–600
  • Mendonca GV, Pereira FD, Fernhall B. Effects of cigarette smoking on cardiac autonomic function during dynamic exercise. J Sports Sci. 2011 Jun;29(9):879-86
  • MARIJUANA & THE BRAIN, PART II: THE TOLERANCE FACTOR By Jon Gettman, July 1995 High Times


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Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?

People who have never been abused often wonder why a person wouldn’t just leave. They don’t understand that breaking up can be more complicated than it seems.

There are many reasons why both men and women stay in abusive relationships. If you have a friend in an unhealthy relationship, support them by understanding why they may choose to not leave immediately.

Conflicting Emotions

  • Fear: Your friend may be afraid of what will happen if they decide to leave the relationship. If your friend has been threatened by their partner, family or friends, they may not feel safe leaving.
  • Believing Abuse is Normal: If your friend doesn’t know what a healthy relationship looks like, perhaps from growing up in an environment where abuse was common, they may not recognize that their relationship is unhealthy.
  • Fear of Being Outed: If your friend is in same-sex relationship and has not yet come out to everyone, their partner may threaten to reveal this secret. Being outed may feel especially scary for young people who are just beginning to explore their sexuality.
  • Embarrassment: It’s probably hard for your friend to admit that they’ve been abused. They may feel they’ve done something wrong by becoming involved with an abusive partner. They may also worry that their friends and family will judge them.
  • Low Self-esteem: If your friend’s partner constantly puts them down and blames them for the abuse, it can be easy for your friend to believe those statements and think that the abuse is their fault.
  • Love: Your friend may stay in an abusive relationship hoping that their abuser will change. Think about it — if a person you love tells you they’ll change, you want to believe them. Your friend may only want the violence to stop, not for the relationship to end entirely.

 

stop abuse

Pressure

  • Social/Peer Pressure: If the abuser is popular, it can be hard for a person to tell their friends for fear that no one will believe them or that everyone will take the abuser’s side.
  • Cultural/Religious Reasons: Traditional gender roles can make it difficult for young women to admit to being sexually active and for young men to admit to being abused. Also, your friend’s culture or religion may influence them to stay rather than end the relationship for fear of bringing shame upon their family.
  • Pregnancy/Parenting: Your friend may feel pressure to raise their children with both parents together, even if that means staying in an abusive relationship. Also, the abusive partner may threaten to take or harm the children if your friend leaves.

Distrust of Adults or Authority

  • Puppy-love Phenomena Adults often don’t believe that teens really experience love. So if something goes wrong in the relationship, your friend may feel like they have no adults to turn to or that no one will take them seriously.
  • Distrust of Police: Many teens and young adults do not feel that the police can or will help them, so they don’t report the abuse.
  • Language Barriers/Immigration Status: If your friend is undocumented, they may fear that reporting the abuse will affect their immigration status. Also, if their first language isn’t English, it can be difficult to express the depth of their situation to others.

Reliance on the Abusive Partner

  • Lack of Money: Your friend may have become financially dependent on their abusive partner. Without money, it can seem impossible for them to leave the relationship.
  • Nowhere to Go: Even if they could leave, your friend may think that they have nowhere to go or no one to turn to once they’ve ended the relationship. This feeling of helplessness can be especially strong if the person lives with their abusive partner.
  • Disability: If your friend is physically dependent on their abusive partner, they can feel that their well-being is connected to the relationship. This dependency could heavily influence his or her decision to stay in an abusive relationship.

What Can I Do?

If you have friends or family members who are in unhealthy or abusive relationships, the most important thing you can do is be supportive and listen to them. Please don’t judge! Understand that leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship is never easy.

Try to let your friend know that they have options. Invite them to check out resources like loveisrespect.org, even if they stay in the abusive relationship. To learn more, check out our other tips on helping a friend.