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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Yours Faithfully: Lower your stress and anxiety levels with sound meditation

Albert Einstein had once said, “Everything in life is vibration.” Sound waves affect a change of frequencies in certain parts of the brain, thereby affecting the behaviour of the person due to the different manner in which the neurons in the brain ‘fire up’.

Written by Dhritiman Biswas | New Delhi |
Updated: February 27, 2018 5:55:53 pm
sound meditation, sound meditation practice, lower stress, lower anxiety, meditation in sleep, sound vibration meditation, indian express, indian express news You may not have heard about sound-waves meditation before, but it’s all around you and waiting to be discovered. The basis of sound-waves meditation is audio frequencies. The use of sound waves for meditation is nothing new. In fact, chanting of ‘aum’ is one of the oldest forms of sound-wave meditation. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Almost everyone is affected by stress – either at home or at school or at work. In 2016, a WHO study on stress in the corporate world found out that about 46 per cent of the workforce in India suffers from some form of stress. This is not surprising considering that suicide rates in India are one of the highest in the world, also according to WHO. Exams bring added stress to parents and children alike. Stress during exams is so rampant that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed this during his ‘Pariksha Par Charcha’ on February 16.

So how to tackle stress?

The solution is very simple, doable and ‘cool’ – sound wave meditation.

Albert Einstein had once said, “Everything in life is vibration.” You may not have heard about sound-waves meditation before, but it’s all around you and waiting to be discovered. The basis of sound-waves meditation is audio frequencies. The use of sound waves for meditation is nothing new. In fact, chanting of ‘aum’ is one of the oldest forms of sound-wave meditation. Similarly, the prayer bowls or gongs, which Buddhist monks use for chanting and meditating, create sound waves that have a certain impact on the brain.

The concept is simple. Human mind communicates using brainwaves. These brainwaves are produced by synchronised electrical pulses from huge masses of neurons communicating with each other. There are five main types of brainwaves that the human mind can produce (as per current scientific understanding) – Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

So, how does one control these brainwaves to meditate and tackle stress?

One way is with sound-wave meditation, which effectively controls the brain. However, let us understand the why, before the how.

Sound waves affect a change of frequencies in certain parts of the brain, thereby affecting the behaviour of the person due to the different manner in which the neurons in the brain ‘fire up’. Sound and communication expert Julian Treasure explains how sound affects people through his multiple TED talks (available online).

For example, the sound of waves or birds singing soothes our mind, however, the jarring ringing of a telephone or the shrill sound of a vehicle horn unsettles us.

Certain brainwaves switch on the Cortisol hormone (which causes stress) in the brain, causing the brain to secrete Serotonin, Endorphins, Acetylcholine, etc, which bring a euphoric feeling and general sense of well-being in a person. Each sound or music has its own frequency and always triggers the same reaction of the brain. The idea of sound-wave meditation is to identify that certain frequency for you that would calm your mind and activate the Cortisol hormone. That particular frequency is different for different people. This also helps people suffering from depression (As per WHO, over 5 crore Indians suffer from depression).

In 2015, a research published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America found that people exposed to natural sounds in an office environment could improve their cognitive skills and mood. Also, one of the good things about this kind of a meditation is that when done properly, the effect of brainwave meditation could stay for hours and sometimes even days.

Finally, The How

So how can one do this wonderful meditation? Very simple, put on your earphones, switch on the meditation music (which may be in any of these forms – songs, guided meditation, chanting – as per one’s preference) and go with the flow. Enjoy yourself! You can put on the meditation sound on a CD player or pen drive and play it through speakers, but the effect is not good as it is important that each ear listens to a distinct sound and together produce the required brainwave.

There are a number of sound waves or binaural meditation music/sounds available on the Internet, especially YouTube. Here are some that I have found effective. You could search for something that suits you better.

Busy bodies may ask – where is the time to do this?

What if I tell you that you can use your sleep time to do this sound-waves meditation; and sleep much better in the process? Advantages of doing sound-waves meditation during sleep are plenty – the time of sleep is used for meditation, so you wake up refreshed in morning and, sometimes, have the bonus of seeing some lucid dreams.

The best way to practise brainwave meditation is with an earphone – so that you don’t disturb anyone else. Specialised fabric headphones can be used if conventional ones hurt the ears while sleeping. The meditation music should be played at very low volume as the ears can pick it up – even though it may not be clearly audible.

Well, I had a tiring day, so going to put on my earphones and meditate! Why don’t you try too?

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