For years I have been practicing meditation and last year also completed a year-long mindfulness teacher training course because I believe that the way we are going to improve our quality of life is to become more conscious about the choices we make and to understand the power we have to direct our own lives and improve our mental, emotional and physical health.
So often we think of improving our health by eating more fruits and vegetables and buying more organic products, but have you ever considered the importance of paying attention to your sound diet? What sounds are you consuming and can you add some healing sounds to your diet?
I dove into the power of sound this year by studying with a Tibetan singing bowl teacher to learn the power of healing with Tibetan bowls and, then moved on to an intensive study with top researchers and teachers in the field of sound research.
What I’ve seen, felt and most importantly heard has been life-changing. I’ve been folding what I’ve learned into my family’s daily life by adding healing sound to our daughters’ bedtime routine. At night when I lie down with each of my children, I have different instruments I use for their bedtime ritual: a Tibetan singing bowl, a set of tuning forks, a chime, and meditation music with mantra. Even if they are rowdy and feeling unsettled, I play the singing bowl and within a couple of minutes they are sleeping deeply.
So what could you do to improve your sound diet if you don’t have chimes laying around?
Humming is a great way to self-sooth. It reduces stress, induces calmness, enhances sleep and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. It even produces powerful neurochemicals such as oxytocin, the love hormone. Conscious humming is key. Notice the vibrations it creates. Set an intention before you begin humming; maybe to relax, or to break up congestion in your chest or to increase a positive emotion. Play with it. If you have a voice, you can hum. If you are interested in reading the research on it check out the book, The Humming Effect.
Music is another way to upgrade your sound diet; choose music that feels good, and take time to actively listen. Dr. Gordon Shaw developed the Mozart Effect, a theory that listening to classical music will actually make you smarter. There is some great research in his book, Keeping Mozart in Mind.
No matter how you choose to improve your sound diet, pay attention to how sound makes you feel, learn to listen actively whether it is to music or a conversation you are having and you will start to notice what sounds or noises you want to consciously include into your sound diet.