“Addicted to Love"ͥ: Using Music to Make Positive Thinking a Habit
Are we sabotaging our happiness by the way we think? We probably don’t mean to. After all we’ve read the Celestine Prophecy, seen the movie The Secret and understand what Wayne Dyer calls “The Power of Intention.” So even though we know we create our own reality by what we think, we still find our inner dialogue in need of some bolstering.
As suggested by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis in their book The Heart of the Soulͥ ͥͥ happiness is dependent on switching our habitual thought patterns from “fear and doubt” to “love and trust.” And indeed if we find ourselves feeling unhappy we can usually trace it to a fear of not having enough love, money, appreciation, acceptance, etc. And going into that place of fear becomes a habit. Perhaps His Holiness The Dalai Lama says it best, “the purpose of our life is happiness.” But getting there he tells us requires “bringing about discipline within one’s mind [which] is the essence of Buddhist teaching.”ͥͥͥ
So overcoming unhealthy, habitual thought patterns is nothing new. But it is colossal. After all it is the foundation of Buddhism, Yoga and countless spiritual practices around the world. Retraining the brain then is perhaps a lifetime pursuit. But there is a way to change psychological habits that is fun and gets the feet tapping. Lyrical music!
Listening to positive lyrics again and again or simply just hearing the song internally shifts how we think. It works on the biological principles of “repetition, autosuggestion and neurological reprogramming” which energy maven Donna Eden teaches can change a psychological habit.ͥᵛ
Johnny Mercer wrote a song in the 1940s that became a hit for Bing Crosby in 1945 and filled the airwaves with this message:
You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Liable to walk upon the scene ᵛ
Yes, “pandemonium” is a great word for describing that hamster on the wheel in our brains that gets going on the “fear and doubt” track. But if we want to switch to the “love and trust” track we can take the advice of Rocker, Neil Young who in his song “Change Your Mind” reminds us we have the power to alter the way we feel about something simply by changing the way we think about it.
When you're confused and the world has got you down
When you feel used and you just can't play the clown
Change your mind ᵛͥ
And changing the mind can be as simple as “accentuating the positive” through music. By choosing music that not only makes us feel great but also makes us think great, we have another valuable tool in our toolbox for making happiness a habit.
One Love, One Heart
Let's get together and feel all right
– Bob Marley, "One Love"ᵛ
ͥRobert Palmer, Addicted to Love, Island Records, 1986
ͥͥThe Heart of the Soul, Gary Zukav, Simon & Schuster, 1990, p.53
ͥͥͥThe Art of Happiness, Dalai Lama, Riverhead Books, 1998, p. 46 & 62
ͥᵛDonna Eden, Energy Medicine, Tarcher/Putnam Books, 1998, p. 333
ᵛBing Crosby, Accentuate the Positive, Capital Records, 1945
ᵛͥNeil Young, Change Your Mind, Reprise Records, 1990
ᵛͥͥBob Marley, One Love, Tuff Gong Records, 1977
Bonnie Hart is an Ecopsychologist and Stress-Relief Specialist who uses the three passions of her life – Nature, Yoga, and Music – to help, heal, and inspire others. She is a Counselor, Yoga Instructor, Reiki Master, and Disc Jockey. Her radio program, “Yoga On Air” is aired Saturday at 9:30 am and is part of “The Hart of Rock n Roll” Saturday mornings from 8 – 10 am on Z88.9 FM (listen live on-line at www.Z889.org). She is also the Founder of EarthGym.org, an outdoor club designed to get people out in Nature in ways that care for the Earth. More information available at www.EarthGym.org or 609-970-3401.