Music powers potential– building mental fitness: Judith Pinkerton at TEDxUNLV

Music powers potential– building mental fitness: Judith Pinkerton at TEDxUNLV

Translator: Mile Živković
Reviewer: Denise RQ Imagine with me driving
to my next destination. Then all of a sudden, someone cuts me off,
flips me off as if it’s my fault, and I narrowly missed a serious accident. Their anger explodes,
my anxiety skyrockets, my heart’s racing. I can’t think clearly,
I can’t catch a deep breath to think about being successful
at my next destination. We know that over 18,000 car accidents happen every day in the United States
because of road rage. That means that road rage
throws people into unsettledness, 36,000 or more every day, into anger, anxiety, depression, sadness. Let’s dig deeper into our communities, where we’ll find that 40 million Americans
are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. That doesn’t include you and me,
having anxiety on the road, right? Or sitting in the dentist chair. We may reach for music
to calm down, to cope, to relax. Does it really work? Think of situations where anger explodes. I was watching the game
where the Carolina Panthers, you know, were starting constant fights
with the 49ers, and the 49ers refused to be triggered. The Panthers lost
to the 49ers, 10 to 23. Another incident of anger versus calm
turned out very differently. A father who was communicating with his daughter via text
before the movie started was shot and killed in a movie theater. Is that really about gun control? Or is it more about mood control? Active shooter incidences
have tripled in our country. Talked about anger and anxiety, depression may cause
the no. 1 death by injury: suicide. Today, more than 22 veterans
will commit suicide, and tomorrow, and the next day. When we sink into depression
without relief, our emotional shape flatlines. The other red shape
are those stuck in anxiety, or anger. The healthy black line represents
the emotional shape of people that exercise mood control, whose lifestyles are not thrown into
anger, anxiety, depression, or sadness. So how do we relieve this unsettledness? What is the answer? We know that many people use medication. That’s an epidemic! One employee assaulted a doctor
because the doctor would not give his wife the medication he believed
that she needed. Medication may not be
the most effective solution. Only 1 out of 7 people
using antidepressant drugs will improve, whereas 1 out of 4 using music therapy
for depression will improve. Music therapy is nonthreatening
and noninvasive. As a board certified music therapist,
I presented a music medicine program to 57 military security cops
at the request of their commander just 5 days before being deployed to Iraq. 88% of these soldiers completed the self-assessment,
health risk assessment, to find out what their emotional shape was and it was not that black healthy line. Usually, up to 98% of troops
will not fill out that kind of assessment because they are afraid
that they’ll be treated differently by their commander,
or by their fellow troops. During this presentation, the soldiers sought to arm
themselves differently with music, to stay balanced in the theater, to ward off that combat stress, and that imminent PTSD,
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Anticipating extreme unsettledness, I use the three-part formula
of music medicine to immediately support these military men
and women feeling better immediately. And, this was the first song they heard. (Violin music) This excerpt was not heard by the soldiers because it was more recently arranged
by my brother Dan Pinkerton. What the soldiers heard
was Amazing Grace played by bagpipes, and they experienced their funeral. It matched their unsettled states and allowed them
to express it out in a healthy way. When we instinctively push play on music,
we are matching our mood as well, we are validating where we are at, or we are avoiding the music
that will trigger us into feelings that we don’t want to feel
and then we stuff them and repress them. And that is not healthy. So what is healing music? Many people will say
‘relaxing music,’ but that is one of three parts to effectively harness the power
of music for mental fitness. The first step for choosing
healing music is to understand what resonates with you, and why. Music therapists are trained to understand the why, and the what, as well as
the how, where, and when. In music therapy, it is the music therapist
that is the agent of change within a clinical,
therapeutic relationship, applying evidence-based music interventions
to accomplish therapeutic goals. This is the website
of our professional organization, the American Music Therapy Association. In Music4Life, music medicine, the agent
of change is the music from all genres. Based upon music therapy principles
and neuroscience, you learn how to apply this three-part formula to effectively change
mood, behavior, and physiology. Here is an example of how it works: my solo violin music replaced routine, post-surgical,
high blood pressure medication in the hospital. The nurse was astonished
that her medication wasn’t needed to bring the high blood pressure
into normal range. The patient had undergone
an emergency back surgery, and he reported this overwhelming peace
and well-being came over him, and the music effectively changed
his mood, his physiology, his behavior. How many here play a musical instrument? All right, keep your hands up. How many sing… in the shower? (Laughter) More hands went up, yeah. When we play our instrument
or sing, it’s a cathartic experience. We may feel better afterward, right? But when we don’t have
our instrument handy, we may be in the car,
pushing scan on the radio; we are looking for that feel-good music
that matches our mood. It’s also entraining
our behavior and our physiology. So how does that work? Music is an invisible force, influences
us as it travels through the air; it’s mechanical energy. When it hits the inner ear,
thousands of hair cilia in the Basilar membrane
dissect and transform all these music elements
into electrochemical energy. Music now has
a whole brain and whole body effect. The brain of Representative
Gabrielle Gifford was damaged by a bullet. Her music therapist,
cotreating with the speech therapist, was successful in remapping
the language center into another part of the brain
so that Gabby could speak again. And this is Gabby, before,
just after, and now. When you don’t have
a music therapist supporting you, you instinctively push play
on music to match your mood. If you’re feeling stressed,
anxious, angry, depressed, or sad, you sit in that mood with the music. Can you make it stuck there? Or, you may kick yourself into the past where memories live
when you listen to music, or, you may kick yourself into the future where you want
to be more relaxed or happier. Those listening habits are
only temporary solutions. For effective stress management, we know
that stress is the number one killer. 95% of all disease-related elements
are caused by stress. So when the invisible force of music
keeps you stuck in anxiety, you may just feel like
you are being excited a lot. Unrelenting anxiety can cause
panic attacks and heart attacks. Anger’s another misinterpreted mood, when you’re listening to music,
you may be fueling that anger, when you feel you’re just being energized. Depression may feel like being calm,
but everybody else around you is noticing that you are isolating
and lacking interest in life. The reality: when you stay stuck
in this unsettled moods continually, they can explode into being injurious
to yourself or to others. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails
says he writes most of his songs when he is in a bad mood. His song called “Hurt” memorializes
a band member who committed suicide. That unsettling piece of music
appeals to people with depression. When you sit in
unsettling music continually, music can provoke harm. So consider creating a music diet that is a balanced one,
just like nutrition and exercise. You have to know
what kind of music is the best to support a healthy mind,
mood, body, and spirit. I reviewed the playlist of Colby Buzzell who’s My War
[Killing Time in Iraq] blogger, 80% of his playlist was unsettled, the remaining 20% were soothing
and some happy, energizing songs. That was not a balanced diet of music. And, what might stop pain for you,
could create pain for Colby. It becomes very complex, and understanding how you can actually build
your capacity to deal with more stress – So let’s find out: do you have
a balanced music diet? Go to the Music4Life website, it’s free, fill out
the health risk assessment, get your free top 10 tips
to find out what to do because when you can do this on
a regular basis, the three-part formula, you will notice some significant results using the correct music,
at the right moment in the best sequenced formula. A female veteran with PTSD and four years
on medical disability, decided that she wanted to have an experience with the customized music medicine program. Within six weeks, she reported
that she was no longer on antidepressants, no longer on anxiety medication,
no longer on pain medication, and all her social phobias disappeared. These kinds of significant results
can happen on a daily basis when you understand how to use
music differently for health, and it can save thousands
of dollars in healthcare cost. So I’ve modernized
Doctor Holmes’ quote: “To take a medicinal mood music sequence
bath… and you will find that it is to the soul what
the water bath is to the body.” Imagine being able
to manage your adrenaline rush in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. Do yourself a personal favor. Discover what’s your health,
what’s your music says about your health. Flood new playlists with music medicine
from your favorite genres and cross-train to new music! Build your capacity
to deal with more stress. Use music to power your potential, to liberate your peace and your happiness, and now, allow yourself to bathe in this final piece of music. (Music) (Applause)


  1. Congrats Judith!   And as you know, I use a lot of music in my speeches and events!!   Love music and music saved my life in my teenage years… Continue the great work in spreading music… and hope to work with you soon! 🙂

  2. Judith, thank you for explaining he power of music and music therapy to build mental and emotional fitness. I plan to make it an integral part of my life.

  3. Love TED Talks – Congrats @Judith Pinkerton   Great talk! Will be editing your segment soon from the Little Grass Shack – it's been very busy. 

  4. Judith, I have a background in music therapy. I went into music therapy because I have witnessed the power of music to heal a broken mind.

  5. i was sort of digging this for a bit but her violin music is like nails on a chalkboard for me.. it makes me extremely angry. i agree with music's ability to change moods. after all her violin did make my hackles rise.. also, nine inch nails isn't something i listen to when i am depressed. their older music which is heavier is gives me game face when i am feeling competitive. his recent music has mellowed out and i in return mellow out to it. when i am depressed i listen to billie holiday.. mostly gloomy sunday… can't get more depressing then that… that goes on for an hour until i worked it out of my system and then i go for the happy sing along types to raise my mood.. but really.. if she thinks that dying cat of a violin playing is anything positive.. i fear for her sense of musical taste…. and.. i am not even going to apologize about being a negative nancy in this comment, i started it honestly and with forewarning that i'm in a bad mood which judith put me into… so yeah, i believe in music therapy it helped me cope with a bad childhood, i'm a much happier and goofier person now… i just think it was a horrible idea to play what she played. and no, i don't hate violins, some of my favorite bands have violins in some of there songs… for example voltaire and rasputina.

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