Building the ultimate playlist is good for your health

Published On: Nov 12 2012 06:59:58 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 12 2012 07:00:00 AM EST

What's your favorite song? What artist gets you pumped up? Who do you listen to when you fall asleep? From Nikki Minaj to Mozart, new research shows the music you love could impact your health.

New science is proving music can relieve anxiety, increase memory, energize your body, organize your brain, improve your mood and help you fight off stress, insomnia, pain, depression and even addiction.

"We're trying to put some science behind music and show people how they can use it to call up the frame of mind they want for very specific situations on a daily basis," said psychologist Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D.

"Music can influence your behavior, your thinking, your emotions," said Galina Mindlin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.

The authors of the book, "Your Playlist Can Change Your Life" say science proves that like sex, drugs or really good food, music causes the brain to release dopamine, a chemical that's key to addiction and motivation. Once a person can figure out which songs help to release dopamine, they can control it and use it to their advantage.

"It's affecting your brain waves and your blood chemistry," Cardillo explained.

Using music to affect your life starts with creating a playlist. First, pick songs you like a lot. Figure out how many beats there are per minute. Norah Jone's 'Turn Me On' has 56 beats, compared to Michael Jackson's 'Beat It" at 139. The more beats, the more energizing the song.

"You can really rewire your brain," Mindlin said.

Once you have a certain song that works at a certain time, ingrain that song into your memory. Play it when you need it. Then make a playlist that's task oriented: one for driving, one for jogging, one for meditation, one for stressful situations, one for work.

"If you do it over and over again, your mind will automatically bring up that mindset for that particular task," Cardillo said.

Kevin Hall uses music therapy to help him get to sleep. He's had insomnia since he was 13 years old.

"One day I went to bed at nine o'clock and I laid there and laid there and just stared at my ceiling," Kevin told Ivanhoe.

After incorporating a soothing playlist into his life, Kevin was sleeping for eight hours a night. It took him three weeks, with five minute sessions each day.

"It's to the point where I don't need the song anymore. I have it recorded in my brain. Now so when I need it, I can just start playing it in my head," Kevin said.

As for improving memory, they say to choose a song from your distant past. That will put your brain into remembering mode and prepare your mind to begin memorizing your notes or presentation. When you need to recall what you learned, play the song beforehand and you'll be able to remember it quicker.