Bring Your Summer Vacation Back to Work: A Sample Vacation Playlist

By associating these moments with sounds and/or music as well as visuals (like photos), you can feel their magic again, especially when you really need it.
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young businesswoman rests at...
young businesswoman rests at...

How many times do you find yourself wishing that you could take that great mindset you engender during vacation back home with you? When you are on hiatus enjoying yourself, feeling more carefree, on top of your game, and happy, it's as if the whole world is in your hand. You feel optimized in mind, body, and spirit. And this synchronicity makes you feel so much more capable in nearly everything you do. What if you could "bottle it up" this mindset, bring it back to your every day and let it work its magic on you there. Maybe you can. The rest of this post will explore how you can use your playlists and other resources to help do just that.

A word of advice: I know that it's unrealistic to think of every minute of vacation as working out perfectly. Sometimes things can turn out strange as a Hollywood comedy. At moments like these, try to take a good breath (dispelling unrealistic expectations that can drive you up a wall) and get real before you bring routine daily stressors into your special space. Sometimes it is just better to let "the good times" emerge in their unique way and simply go with the flow.

Speaking of emergence, it's also nice to let your vacation's unique memories -- theme -- bubble up naturally as well. So this is a great time to channel surf, letting a musical piece that grows out of your best experiences come to you. Just try to be present to it when it happens -- no need to "look for it." And how exciting a coincidence it is when this happens! These songs can make for some awesome memories and bring that initial excitement back to you many times over.

Today, for example, I took a ton of pictures of my kids and wife at the beach, playing games, jumping waves, and chillin'. Later on, we went to town and got the children's faces painted. This completely warmed my heart to the feelings of innocent joy they experience so effortlessly. There was an acoustic duo playing music in the little cobblestone park while all this was going on. The band surprisingly played "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor, and I began taking an abundance of pictures (on my iPod) of the swirls of hearts and stars and golden glitter as the artist painted on the children's faces. It was great to have the Taylor song playing -- all so naturally in the background -- particularly since it is a favorite in my family. As the saying goes, "I couldn't have planned it that way." If I somehow had, for me, it would have felt fake. But something magical was happening in the coincidence.

And that's the point I want to make. Such moments of realization are powerful. What's more, they happen a lot. You just need to be there for them. By associating these moments with sounds and/or music as well as visuals (like photos), you can feel their magic again, especially when you really need it. My recommendation is to try to be present for them and nail them when they come to you.

My plan is to download a copy of "You've Got a Friend" onto my iPod this evening and use it as a soundtrack to a slideshow I'll make of this vacation. It will bring me joy over and over when I return to work, particularly before and after those unexpected difficult moments everyone has to deal with.

My birthday is in a few days and my children (and wife too) all want me to get my face painted. Maybe this year I will! We'll see.

Playlist Bonus

  • Use natural sounds. Record your own sounds of the night, ocean waves, campfires, etc. Perhaps you (or someone you are with) is a musician and can play a song. You can also find natural sound downloads (waves, thunder, rain, waterfalls, etc.) on iTunes and other resources if you want to match these with experiences or photos.

  • Take lots of pictures. Whether you are alone, with your partner, and family and/or friends, I highly recommend taking plenty of pictures -- especially with your cell phone, iPod or other electronic device, from which you can easily sync a slideshow with your favorite vacation song(s).
  • Use scent. Attach an environmental scent (pine, sand, sea breeze, sunscreen, perfumes, citrus, etc.) to a piece of music or natural sound. You can also use your partner's cologne or perfume. Imagine how you could use that to create special moments later on, especially when you've synchronized experience, music and memory in your mind.
  • Sing your own song. Create a song, writing your own lyrics -- even if you sing it to a familiar melody -- and record it. This is a great family participation activity. Then sync it up to some pictures and/or scents. I personally like this one because it brings you into the present, bonds, and stores the experience for future use.
  • In my previous post, I included information about how you can put a little science behind your playlists to amplify how they influence you physically and behaviorally. Remember, it's really all about training the mind to act the way you want it to in specific daily situations -- and music, when used in this way, becomes your conditioning tool. You may wish to take a look at some of those earlier suggestions, as they will work with any playlist you are creating, including this one. To learn more about how to use playlists to transform your life, check out of my newest book, Your Playlist Can Change Your Life.

    Use your favorite music to help you store and later upload your sweetest mindsets. I always recommend making at least two playlists, one that makes you feel relaxed and one to enliven you. Put these on your iPod or cell phone so that you will have them when you need them in day-to-day routines, to quickly launch your mindset up or down, at the push of a button. Enjoy.

    Summer Vacation Sample Playlist

    For more by Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D., click here.

    For more songs and playlists, click here.