by Sophia Ruan Gushée
Advances in technology now allow scientists to measure sounds and examine reactions from our brains, nervous systems, biological electrical communications, and hormones. Technology has shed light on how sounds—from music to noise pollution to silence—can influence our stress, moods, heart rate, memories, immune response, and healing.
Sounds can be incorporated into your daily or evening routines to help you take care. Our brains, bodies, and emotions experience micro-traumas throughout each day. Our homes and evening routines can be evolved to become restorative periods. Sounds—including music and silence—can help.
The article below explains more and includes 5 tips to get started.
Studies on the brain have found music to impact the brain "like no other stimulus," as the second video below explains.
The affects are so unique that even among those with Alzheimer's disease, music can sometimes elicit language, emotions, and movement that is otherwise not seen. Key to this is the triggering of good memories. Check out the video below to see for yourself.
Music is also being seen for its ability to help those recovering from a stroke and neurological deficits, including those living with dementia and Parkinson's disease. Author of the book The Power of Music, Elena Mannes explains in her book that music has sometimes helped stroke patients who lost their verbal function to regain their ability to speak.
In the video below, you can see how technology now measures brain activity from listening to music.
Music also provides additional benefits. Some of the benefits below are also evident in the videos above.
One main theme among strategies for practical nontoxic living is incorporating more balance from our fast-paced, stimulating, and technology-filled lives. Since we are spending unprecedented amounts of time in front of digital screens, it can be empowering to increase our awareness of how our modern lives and technology contribute to us feeling more emotionally disconnected, depressed, anxious, lonely, and unhealthy. Slowing our pace and schedules to cook with loved ones, and putting technology to bed a few hours before your family's bedtime can re-align your habits to make room for true connection, contentment, peace, and joy.
Changing habits is hard though. And it helps to replace old habits with fulfilling, pleasant new activities.
Becoming aware of how sounds can impact your household's moods, stress, and wellness can help. Technology has added a lot more visual and auditory stimulation—and for more prolonged periods of time. This can contribute to more background noise pollution.
Since writing my last article "Counter Your Noise Pollution," I have realized how background noise in my home office contributes to me being put in an agitated state. Before my children even get home from school, my patience already feels depleted and my tolerance for more noise and chaos is lower than I want.
Since learning about the powerful influences of music, I now realize that I can influence my moods with music. As a result, I'm now trying to schedule 5 minutes before picking up the kids from school to listen to music to balance me to a more emotionally resilient state for the hectic after school and bedtime hours. Building upon tips in my article "What triggers your feel-good hormones?," you can listen to music to promote the release of your feel-good hormone dopamine.
For many people, technology is often an easy escape from boredom, discomfort of social situations, and uncomfortable emotions. In the evenings, it's easy to spend lots of time on technology—for important reasons, entertainment, or to soothe. However, choosing the company of technology can also take away from yourself.
Instead, consider scheduling time in your evening to listen to music. Experiment with how it can influence you into a state that's conducive for peace, restorative rest, and meaningful connection with those you live with.
Your home and evenings can help you heal and recover from the micro-traumas we all experience. Our natural resiliency can be further supported with the following tips:
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In addition to the videos below, the sources below were also referenced.
(1) "'The Power Of Music' To Affect The Brain." June 1, 2011. https://www.npr.org/2011/06/01/136859090/the-power-of-music-to-affect-the-brain
(2) Ulbricht, Catherine. "Music Therapy for Health and Wellness" in Psychology Today. Jun 21, 2013. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/natural-standard/201306/music-therapy-health-and-wellness
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