Sound Healing: Tools for Anxiety

 

Therapy is the ultimate goal for anyone with mental health issues; however, before I managed to afford my current therapist, I did my own research on tools to help manage my anxiety and heal my past traumas.  

No, this isn’t just meditation, though deep breathing is a part of it! Instead, it’s something much more concrete and we’re surrounded by it all the time: 

 

Sound.  

 

Have you ever listened to a cheerful song and felt your mood improve just minutes later? Or maybe you’ve felt the vibrations of rhythmic drums and felt the need to dance! 

Sound is powerful and can help heal our traumas, the source of our anxiety. In fact, Buddhist monks, the experts at maintaining a peaceful and sound mind, often use a simple instrument to help guide their meditations: Tibetan singing bowls.  

Researchers have found that singing bowls can help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and depressionThey also noted an increase in relaxation and spiritual well-being. In addition, a study that used low-frequency sound stimulation to alleviate pain in fibromyalgia patients showed a significant impact; so much so, that 73.68% of participants reduced their intake of pain medication. 

Scientists theorize that binaural beats, or the hypothesis that certain sound frequencies “can synchronize and change one’s behavior," may be the cause of sound’s healing abilities.

Let’s listen to a singing bowl right now. Once you play the video, try closing your eyes and listen intently to the sound that reverberates throughout your room or through your headphones. Relax your body, your arms, your shoulders, and breathe deeply in and out as the sound continues to play.  

 

Check out this video:

SINGING BOWL DEMONSTRATION: KATHMANDU, NEPAL (4K) 

 

How do you feel? Were you able to sense the bowl’s vibration, even over video? This sound grounds me, even during my most severe anxiety attacks. 

However, I’ve seen the most improvement in my mental health when I pair my singing bowl with daily affirmations. I wait for the exact moment I strike the bowl to decide what affirmation I will give myself that day. Thoughts and feelings that were once subconscious, rise to the surface and make me aware of what’s causing my anxiety. This is a great exercise to increase self-awareness and reconnect with your true self. 

So, give it a try! If you’re not ready to purchase a singing bowl (which I highly recommend) you can easily find a video or sound clip of one online!  

 

How to do your daily affirmations: 

Tools Needed:

Striker: tool used to hit the bowl and produce sound 

Cushion: small pillow placed underneath bowl to help sound reverberate 

Instructions: 

  1. Place your bowl on its cushion and grab your striker. 
  2. Hold the wooden end of your striker gently between your thumb and the tips of your fingers. Do not hold like a hammer. 
  3. Breathe in deeply and strike (I.e., swiftly tap) the edge of your bowl. Breathe out. Continue to practice deep breathing as you learn how to strike your bowl. 
  4. Be patient. It may take a few attempts before you produce a clear, resonant sound. 
  5. Now, breathe in and as you release your breath, speak an affirmation to yourself. Don’t overthink it. Say the first thing that comes to mind.  
  6. Strike your bowl. Repeat the same affirmation again as you breathe out and then strike your bowl once again 
  7. Repeat this process as much as you feel the need to hear that affirmation. Move on to another affirmation when ready and continue to strike your bowl after each repetition. 

    Some affirmations to get you started: 

    • I am worthy of love and happiness. 
    • I am loved by those around me.
    • I am smart, capable, and worthy of love. 
    • I love and support myself no matter what. 
    • I will not abandon my needs for the sake of others. 

     

    With just a few minutes every day, you can help alleviate your anxiety and learn how to make changes to improve your mental health! Let us know what your favorite anxiety-relieving routines are at @livetrulyfe!

     

     

     

    References: 

    1. Ahonen, Heidi PHD MTA, et al. (2015, Jan-Feb.) Pain Res Manag. 2015 Jan-Feb; 20(1): e21–e27. DOI: 10.1155/2015/375174 
    2. Goldsby, Tamara L., et al. (2016, Sept. 30) J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 22(3): 401–406. DOI: 10.1177/2156587216668109 
    3. Wei, Marlynn M.D., J.D. (2019, July 5) Psychology Today.