Big appreciation to my guest blogger today, Sharon Carne! Enjoy
There are so many common sense ways to use music and sound to reduce stress, create more focus, enhance creativity and make your days easier.
The human body is a natural resonator for sound. We are deeply and intimately wired for sound – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Let’s take a closer look at a few examples of our wiring for sound:
1. Sound moves through the more fluid parts of your body four and a half times faster than it moves through the air. And twelve times faster through your bones.
2. Rhythm changes your heartbeat, breathing and brainwaves. This is called entrainment. The music playing in the grocery store changes your heartbeat. And you can’t turn off this response.
3. Hearing is the first sense that develops in the fetus. Sound stimulates the growth of the nervous system.
4. Hormones are released whenever we play music or sing together – feel good hormones, hormones that bond us together into communities and hormones that help keep us healthy.
Let’s take a closer look at stress and what it is.
The quote below is from an article called “Stress Symptoms, Signs and Causes.” If you want to learn more about the symptoms of stress, I recommend you check out the whole article: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm
“When you perceive a threat, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus – preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.”
Now, this physical response can be handy in the short term if you are giving a presentation at work, need to focus when you are driving, in a sports competition, etc.
The key here is short term. In the long term, a constant stream of stress hormones in your body is extremely damaging, not only to your health, but to every part of your life.
To put this in perspective – up to 90% of visits to the doctor in Canada are because of stress related conditions. That’s a big number.
There are many ways to reduce stress.
Because of our intimate wiring for sound – at all levels – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – most of us intuitively reach for sound or music to reduce stress.
It’s our common sense response – because it works.
Have you ever put on your favorite piece of music after a tough day?
Do you listen to music while driving to or from work?
A good friend of my husband’s listens to hard rock on the way home from work. He intuitively found that the low bass and heavy beat helped him discharge after work.
But it really bugged him when he started his car in the morning and this hard rock blasted from the radio. He really likes light classical music in the morning to help him focus for the day.
Check out #2 above. Music changes your heartbeat. Stress causes an elevated heartbeat – and blood pressure.
Music with low sounds and slow rhythms creates relaxation. Because it slows down your heartbeat, brain and breathing.
We all know that. And we all use it. It’s common sense and intuitive.
However - KNOWING exactly what music to choose - that works for you (we are all different in our response to music) - takes common sense and intuition to a whole new level of EFFECTIVENESS in managing stress.
Here’s another example.
We all sigh when we are upset. It’s an automatic response every one of us has.
What a really good sigh ACTUALLY does is stimulate the brain to release endorphins that help your body reduce stress, heal or manage pain.
You can MAXIMIZE the EFFECTIVENESS of a sigh by using your voice consciously.
Your own voice is the most powerful healing tool you have. Your voice carries every frequency of your body. Your voice resonates every cell of your body with every sound that you make.You have it with you all the time and it costs you nothing to use.And the best part - it creates an instant response in the body, mind and emotions and spiritual connection.
Put your hands on your upper chest. Feel the bones of your sternum and ribs under your palms. Take a deep breath. Feel the air in the bottom of your lungs. Now release the air with a long ahhhh. Like a waterfall. The way you would say ahhhh when you say, “Ahhhh, what a cute puppy!”
When you add a SINGING tone to the ahhhh, the sound vibrations in your body and the resulting health benefits are focused and amplified.
Common sense stress reduction.
And it only takes a few seconds.
Sharon Carne, BMus, M.F.A. is an author, speaker, musician, recording artist, sound healer, Reiki master and consultant. Sharon is the founder of Sound Wellness, whose programs are at the forefront of education in how sound and music can be easily applied to your everyday life - to reduce stress, help you concentrate, energize you, inspire you, support your health and so much more. www.soundwellness.com