Shielagh Shusta Hochberg, Ph.D. - Personal Growth Throughout the Life Cycle
Meditations and Reflections

Sounds Can Soothe and Even Heal

Sound can reach deep into our being and calm the disturbances that reside there. Similarly, sound can intrude on our peace of mind, be it raised voices, loud noises outside, or the clatter of a picture falling off a wall.
We need to be aware of how we respond to sound in order to make it work for us. If certain sounds annoy us, that fact may well be fruitful for discussion in therapy. For some of us it's a crying baby, for others a car backfiring, for some others it's the angry tone in a voice whose owner matters to us. Telling our therapist about such responses to certain sounds can help us investigate, process and resolve an excessive and disturbing response. There's almost always a reason for any response to life, and so there is almost always some therapeutic work we can do to reduce the alarm and desensitize to the trigger.
Positive reactions can come from our exposure to certain sounds. Music of various types can be very evocative. We can hear songs we listened to years ago and be transported, so to speak, back to that time, for better or worse. When we know what sorts of sounds help us focus, help us ramp down agitation or other distress, and soothe what ails us, we can help ourselves when we employ those sounds on our behalf as often as we need them. 
Anyone easy distracted during an activity such as writing, doing simple tasks or paperwork, or meditating may find the effort can be enhanced by comforting sounds such as Tibetan Singing Bowls, chanting or nature sounds. For some this helps hone the focus. For others it would only draw attention from the task at hand.
I have found several sources of sounds that enhance certain activities as those mentioned above. Tunes you've downloaded to your MP3 player are obvious choices. If listening to a CD with all its tracks might be disruptive to your focus, placing a soothing track on a repeat loop can provide a great audio backdrop for your purposes. Think of it as audio wallpaper, if you like. The Internet offers access to radio signals from all over the world at no charge to the listener as well as relaxing music, nature sounds and other sounds such as chimes, gongs, and singing bowls. All one needs is a program such as Tune In Radio or Pandora or one of the other similar Internet sites. There are iPhone apps where you can play the Tibetan bowls, such as the i-Qi Timer. Some are free, and others have a small one time, monthly or annual charge.
For meditation enhancement through sound, the sound is best uninterrupted, so subscribing may be necessary to listen to certain online audio reliably. One I recommend is Calm Radio. One can listen free on any computer, or add an app to iPhone or iPad or Android device. The company is in Canada and offers relaxing sounds of many different types: Relaxation Sounds, Classical Music, World Music, and Atmosphere (nature sounds). Subscribers can mix some of these to create unique blends such as Native American flute music plus forest sounds. The sound quality is excellent. I have experimented and have used this site for meditation, creative writing, cooking, and other tasks.
If you're interested in learning more, click on the blue Calm logo:
In yesterday's blog entry, I provided some links to various sites that offer guidance with the practice of meditation. People interested in trying to use sound to improve mental clarity, psychological balance, emotional stability and physical wellbeing would probably find meditation beneficial, too.

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