There are many meditation objects you can choose from to calm your mind down. The easiest way to bring the attention of a restless mind away from painful or difficult thoughts and feelings is to distract yourself. As distraction is the easiest and most familiar way for us to feel better, there is the anxiety-distraction feedback loop. This feedback loop is self-explanatory. We feel anxious about uncertainty (especially during this time of the pandemic) and we distract ourselves by binge-eating, work, social media, or binge-watching the TV. When the distraction is over, maybe there is a pause before anxiety returns again. There is a simple way to break this loop by using sound meditation for relaxation.
Music or sound itself can be a tool to distract our minds from anxious thoughts. Music also can be a tool to help us calm and focus our minds as an object of meditation. So, how does sound meditation help us relax?
Sound Meditation Reduces Tension
A study in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine found that an hour-long sound meditation helped people reduce tension, anger, fatigue, anxiety and depression. In the process it also increases a sense of spiritual well-being. The study used Tibetan singing bowls, crystal singing bowls, tiny cymbals, gongs, didgeridoos and other small bells. Those who had never done sound meditation experienced less stress and anxiety, including those who have tried it before.
Why Sound Vibrations Can Heal
Sound vibrations have been used as treatments to help people suffering from arthritis, menstrual pain, postoperative pain, knee replacement pain. It has even helped improve mobility, reduce muscle pain and stiffness, lower blood pressure and increase blood circulation.
Although why and how sound heals spiritually and physically is still a science being studied, one theory is that sound works through the vibrational tactile effects on the whole body. The theory of “binaural beats” hypothesizes that listening to certain frequencies and synchronize and change one’s brainwaves.
Binaural beats is a theory that the brain synchronizes its brainwave frequency to the difference in hertz between tones played in each ear. Depending on the frequency of the sound, it can lead one to states of deep relaxation associated with beta waves or meditative trance-like theta waves.
Theta waves are associated with daydreaming and rapid eye movement (REM), the dreaming phase of sleep. It can also occur when you are in a state of driving for a long time on the freeway or when running long distance.
Beta waves are the fastest type of brainwave and occurs when the brain is active and actively engaged.
Sorry, No Rock Music
Sound as a meditation tool helps with relaxation and in calming the mind into a focused state only when it is of a certain frequency. That’s why Tibetan singing bowls and bells work. Also, the sound used for meditation is usually monotonous and not designed to excite the emotions.
Other Forms of Sound Meditation
If you are a spiritual person, with faith in a certain religion, you might find sound vibrations of chanting in churches or temples very soothing to your mind and body.
That is because most devotional chants are designed as a sound meditation to steady and relax the mind. It can be found in the Vedic chants of Hinduism, the Gregorian chants of Christianity to Buddhist and Muslim chants.
If you are practicing mindfulness meditation to sounds, then you will be focusing on your awareness of knowing that there is sound rather than being absorbed by the sound itself.
There are a variety of objects used in meditation. But for mindfulness meditation, the key object is awareness itself. If you would like to find out more about mindfulness, get in touch with us. We provide 8-week mindfulness courses or workshops for individuals and groups.