Do you listen to music? Consider listening to more music. There's some evidence it's as good for your brain as it is for your soul. Your whole brain lights up to listen to music, creating lots of positive activity. Music can persuade you to make the subtle alterations in heart beat and breathing that support a whole range of behavioural variations. Some takes you into a wonderfully focused trance; some sets you free to wander; and some insists on your full attention.
As I write this, a young woman is singing pop songs that have that mixture of intelligence and bounce associated with a well-spent youth. I can let this music sneak around the edges of my awareness, adding just a touch of bounce to my fingers on the keyboard.
Later this morning, my son will pull himself out of bed and go to his computer. He has a wonderfully eclectic collection of music. If he puts on Blood, Sweat and Tears, I will settle comfortably into the rhythm and probably start to hum. If he puts on some jazz fusion, my teeth will be set ever so slightly on edge. For me, some jazz insists on attention: it catches at the edges of my awareness and says: "Listen."
At the gym, I am a paradoxical listener. The harder I want to work out, the more mellow the music I choose: a little Jack Johnson tricks my heart into pumping a little more slowly and relaxes all the muscles that are not actually being worked in an activity. Music with more drive requires less of me.
If you were making a movie as you are making this day, what soundtrack would you choose?