Lecture 3: Mind and Body Teach Each Other

Mind and Body teach each other
How posture, breathing and savoring change our brains.
If you did attend the live lecture, you fill in the second questionnaire only below. You can use this page to remind yourself of some of the content in order to fill in the questionnaire.

If you could not attend the live lecture, this page is the replacement assignment for the live lecture. You should do this replacement assignment by reading this page adn watching all the links. Then you do the content questionnaire below,an send your answers to the teacher VIA EMAIL criss.taylor@hku.nl
Then, fill in the practice exercises questionnaire after practicing the tactics in the second part, and hand it in on project campus as usual.

Introduction: Mind over matter?
People used to think that the mind controlled the body, and it was only a matter of determination and strict control to just keep going on to achieve your goal even when you were tired. Musicians were taught to go on even when their efforts did not lead to progress; even when they were confused, uncomfortable, or in pain. This attitude left little room for monitoring how you were feeling, for listening to your mind or body. If you could not coordinate yourself somehow to play a difficult passage, you were to just grit your teeth and repeat, repeat.

There has been a great deal of advancement in our understanding of the mind/body connection in recent decades. Through the ability to use brain scans, take hormonal measurements, and conduct controlled studies, it is now very clear that the relationship of mind and body is not top-down, but a dialogue. Mind teaches the body, and body teaches the mind! That makes it worth your while to listen to the body. You can train your ability to learn and perform through specific practices that are proven to create positive effects on the mind. In this lesson we will explore some of the discoveries involving the mental effects of posture, breathing and savoring.

There are two parts of the questionnaire for this lecture. Part one is about the readings and films. Part two is about the practical assignments that you practice during one week. Please plan the short exercises into your schedule and write them in your diary, to remember to take the few minutes needed to do the exercises on:
Apply the Power Pose
Practice the Steady Breathing Exercise
Savor something.
Assess how you and your surroundings are doing with your core needs.

1. Performance Confidence:
Body Posture and its effect on Brain Chemistry If this link does not work, copy this address into your search engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc Or search on youtube for the whole lecture called: “amy cuddy body language ted talk” (21:02 minutes)

Did you know that imitating confidence in your posture can make you feel confident, as hormones change in relation to how you sit, stand and move? The scientific studies of Dr. Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard University, show how stress hormone levels (cortisol) drop and performance-enhancing hormones (testosterone) increase when body postures are changed.

Watch this film:
Your body language may shape who you are with Professor Amy Cuddy
Now answer the questions about this film in the questionnaire part one, and save your answers in your computer.

Practical assignment: Power Pose
Use the power pose. Choose two or three moments in the week when you know that you will be going to a challenging activity, like a lesson, a rehearsal, a presentation or a performance. Put yourself in the “super woman” pose for 2 minutes just before you step in to this activity. The pose is standing looking in the room, with two hands on the hips. If you feel stupid doing this, you can put one hand on one hip, which looks more relaxed. In the questionnaire you will be asked how this went.
After at least one week of practice, you can fill answer the questions on this section in questionnaire part two and save them on your computer.

2. Focusing with Vision
Psychologist Adwin Konsten has created recordings online for you to focus and calm the mind in order to be able to concentrate more effectively.
To begin: Read the explanation, and then try the exercise recorded for you by the psychologist.
Practical assignment focusing with vision:
Read this first:
Explanation: Focusing with Vision
Now try this:
Focus exercise 1 in English (2 minutes)
Focus oefening 1 in Nederlands (2 minutes)

3. Positive Psychology and savoring
“Positive Psychology is the study of what makes life most worth living. Positive psychology is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings and behavior, with a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses, building the good life instead of repairing the bad…” (Peterson, 2008)

Watch this film starting at minute 4:25 all the way to the end:
Harvard Medical Video: What it takes to be happy
with Professor Siegel of Harvard University

3a. Savoring
To savor: “To perceive with relish. To give oneself the enjoyment of: to savor the best in life” -Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary

In the film above, Professor Siegel mentions savoring as one of the pathways to happiness. Savoring means really stopping to experience something using our senses, instead of rushing to complete one task after another. It means taking time to slow down, stand still, register what our senses are telling us, being open to the impressions we receive and the enjoyment of what we see, hear, feel, and taste. It is the difference between shoving down a sandwich, or sitting down to a meal and taking time to taste each bite.
Music making, and listening to music, are savoring acts. Our musical banquet has endless variety! What we do in life affect how we work in music. We need to practice savoring in our daily life if we want to really connect to what we are doing as artists.

Now learn more about savoring in this video of the School of Life called
“Why small pleasures are a big deal”
Now answer the questions about these films in the questionnaire part one, and save your answers in your computer.

Practical Assignment: savoring
In the coming days notice what small things give you pleasure or comfort. Make a list of those moments that you found satisfaction from small acts, interactions or objects around you. Since we all have to slow down just now, this may be a moment to connect with these simple things.
Music can also be savored. Think about how to take time to notice and appreciate details in the music you are studying, or to register the fine sensations that are coupled with playing and singing.

4. Our Core Needs
In the lecture, our guest teacher explained that we all have core needs to ensure our health and ability to learn. These core needs are:
1. Feel safe and protected
2. Feeling connected
3. Being valued and appreciated
4. Safe boundaries
5. Self expression: expressing our emotions and thoughts
6. Autonomy: meeting out own emotional needs

Think about your life at home, at school or work, and your relationship with yourself. Questions about this aspect are in the second questionnaire below.

After trying all the practice exercises, you can fill in also the questions for the second questionnaire.

This questionnaire is for people who did not attend the live lecture: Content Questionnaire for replacement assignment
Please send this first questionnaire to the teacher directly criss.taylor@hku.nl. Put your whole name and “Questionnaire for replacement assignment” in the title.

This questionnaire is for everyone:
Practice Exercises Questionnaire for Lecture 3 (Live lecture and replacement assignment)
Please submit this questionnaire put placing it in your own folder on Project Campus. Put your whole name and “Lecture 3 Mind and Body” in the title.

Please note: If the content of this questionnaire or lecture have touched upon things that you need to talk about, please contact your tutor, confidential counselor or dean of students. All the links are to be found on the student portal. Or contact the teacher for more information: criss.taylor@hku.nl