Mental Health Language: Sound

Three weeks ago, we started our series on mental health languages and followed up with detailed insight on the benefits of movement to your self-care routine. This week, we will continue our discussion by focusing on the second of the four languages; sound. Sound goes hand in hand with movement, so as you can imagine, it is my next favorite language to use when showing care and kindness to myself. Below, gain knowledge on the benefits of sound in your healing process and ways that you can incorporate this language on a daily basis.

Sound is a powerful tool used to gain awareness, clarity, and get present in the moment. It is often used to quiet anxieties, refocus the mind, and sometimes, it is used to communicate feelings that would otherwise be difficult to express. Different sounds can be used to affect and alter your mood, and have been found to be helpful in managing symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and even cancer among numerous other disorders including autism spectrum disorders, PTSD, behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, post-operation, schizophrenia, neurological disorders, and more!


For a moment, think about when you are getting ready to compete in an area or perhaps you have a huge presentation coming up. It is likely that you listen to high energy music to pump you up and get you going. On the other hand, when you're trying to relax, you may opt to listen to the soothing sounds of nature, jazz, or guided meditations.


Research has shown that music and music therapy has many benefits to those that have experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety. Because of this, music is often used to promote physical, mental, and emotional health. While simply listening to music has its benefits, music therapy takes the research further by incorporating techniques such as live instrumentation, song writing, and the creation of music to resonate with clients. Music of varying genres is chosen and the clinician may suggest that the client begin to play instruments or compose their own songs. This allows the client to be as expressive as they feel comfortable and further engage with their therapist. Clinicians in this field frequently use movement to aid their work as well.


Perhaps the biggest benefit of music therapy and the use of sound to heal is the impact of sound on the expression of feelings and the sensations of those feelings. For a moment, think about the last time that you were sad or upset. It is not unlikely that you chose to listen to songs that were slower and deeper in undertones to coincide with how you were feeling. It is also likely that the music pushed you deeper into your feelings. It's okay. We've all been there. The sensations that you noticed have been studied and there is research to support that your heart rate and blood pressure reacts to changes in volume and tempo. This means that you are the composer of your body's natural rhythms.


Research also suggests that like movement, music is helpful in allowing the body to release endorphins. This release helps individuals to better manage pain emotionally and physically. If this is your language, you may use these techniques to reach your wellness goals:


-Sing a song

-Play music

-Hum

-Play an instrument

-Listen to nature

-Turn on the sink and listen to flowing water

-Practice breathing exercises (according to your body's natural rhythm)

-Write lyrics

-Dance to music

-Choreograph to music


There are so many options! If sound is your language, please feel free to share in the comments below what speaks to your body.