Fortunately, sound can also be harnessed to engender a sense of wellbeing. Some studies and much anecdotal evidence support the idea that certain sounds are healing. While preferences are personal, there are some tried-and-true methods for using soothing tones as therapy. If you’re interested in reducing stress and enhancing creativity through sound, here are a few ways to get started.
An often-cited reason for relaxing shore side is the calming power of listening to splashing, lapping or gentle burbling. Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, writes in his book “Blue Mind,” that water heals the mind and body because it helps people enter a creative, calm state. Nichols contends there’s a deep connection between people and water. Listening is one way to tap into that affinity. If you live near a river, lake or ocean, spend time exercising or relaxing where you can hear the movement of water. You can also add a fountain to your home, patio or garden. Fountains are pleasing to the ears, muffle street noises and are aesthetically appealing.
Various religions repeat a mantra as part of their spiritual practices, and many modern-day sound therapists use a similar approach. During yoga or meditation, some people enhance their practice with singing bowls and yogic chanting. The vibrations in these rhythmic tones are said to reduce stress and produce endorphins. An easy way to test whether this type of sound appeals to you is to start by chanting during meditation. Simply repeating the syllable “om” may improve your ability to focus and think clearly.
An entire branch of medicine is devoted to music therapy. Music has been successful in helping people improve cognitive functions, emotional development, motor and social skills.
Theories differ for how music heals. One hypothesis is that music helps people by simultaneously engaging various parts of the brain. When listening to music, people use both the right and left hemispheres of their brains, forging greater and stronger connections between the lobes. The improved pathways make the mind stronger and more capable when it comes to solving problems and thinking creatively. Aside from the brain-boosting power of music, listening to your favorite playlist can reduce stress, pump-up your workout or put you in a good mood.
Incorporating pleasant sounds into your environment is easy. Something as simple as taking a break near water, or tapping your foot to some tunes may be all you need to reduce stress and get your creative juices flowing.