How Good and Bad Sounds Affect Our Mental Health

How Good and Bad Sounds Affect Our Mental Health

May 10, 2024

 

At Wind River, we know that sound can affect everyone within hearing distance -- whether it’s a pleasant sound or an irritating one! That’s why we’re passionate about spreading harmony with the warm, rich tones our wind chimes make. 

The sounds in our lives can significantly contribute to our state of mind. So in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to pass along some facts and considerations for how sound can influence our mental health. Mental health is complex, but as with every aspect of our health, there are simple things we can do to make an impact. 

Musical Sounds 

Why do we love listening to our favorite music? 

There are many reasons, but underneath our preferences, listening to music actually changes the electrical activity in your brain, making us happier, reducing stress, improving cognition and performance, and there’s even growing evidence that music could be a viable therapeutic modality for healing disease.  

There is a world of fascinating science that supports the idea that music is good for our health, but it’s important that you actually like it. So, take some time this month to create a new playlist of music that makes you feel good or happy. You could also add the healing sounds of a Wind River chime to your environment. 

(For wind chime pairing advice, see this article.)

Loud Sounds 

Think about a sound that’s made you jump: someone calls your name when you thought you were alone; an approaching dog’s bark; a siren; a sound-system maxing out… kind of stressful, right? And by design, loud sounds alert us in case of a real threat. 

But, our modern world can be quite loud -- regardless of immediate danger -- which means our body may experience a constant low-grade stress because it thinks it’s in danger. 

In fact, the human body is so sensitive to loud sounds that if they are sustained for too long, hearing damage occurs, which has negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing.  

If you’re a person who spends many hours surrounded by loud noises due to work and life circumstances, think about balancing the loud sounds in your life with intentional quiet. Try riding in silence while you’re driving, being out in nature, turning off the TV, or even wearing ear plugs when necessary. 

Imaginative Sounds

Did you know that imagining music could be just as effective for mental h       ealth, if not more, than actually listening to it? 

This study found that imagining music causes significantly greater alpha power in the posterior part of the brain than listening. Alpha waves are associated with feeling calm, creative, and focused. 

So, take a few minutes throughout the day to imagine your favorite music. And if you’re away from your Wind River chimes, just envisioning the calm, gentle music they make could improve your mental health and productivity! 

Meditative Sounds 

There are ways we can show our body we are safe and secure that go deeper than merely telling our bodies we are okay. In meditation, the breath is the simplest place to start. 

But, another way to help our body reduce stress and anxiety is through sound. Many call this ancient practice of using sounds to ground and heal, a sound bath, which is a good description because the sound envelops the senses like a supportive hug. 

Usually, sound baths involve listening to low, long, resonant sounds in a rhythm that’s calming and steady. You can find guided sound baths at local yoga studios or wellness centers, but you can also easily replicate it in your home with a Corinthian Bells Wind Chime or a Wind River Meditation Chime

There are also loads of sound bath resources online, like our recent collaboration with the musical duo ShaneFlyingSunTapes. They composed an entire album using Wind River’s Eclipse chimes. Entitled Path to Eclipse, this album captures hours of peaceful, meditative celestial sounds -- perfect for reminding your body that it can relax. 

Read more about sound healing with wind chimes.

 

Sound Memory 

It’s widely known that musical memory is very resilient. Even as other cognitive functions decline, the part of the brain that deals with music can remain healthy. That’s why those with dementia can still remember lyrics to songs, long after their other mental functions have started to fade. 

You can make an investment in your mental health by feeding your brain with good sounds every day. Listen to sounds that bring you joy, help you relax, and feel therapeutic to your entire body. These musical memories will contribute to our mental health for years to come.

 Mental Health

 Paying attention to our mental health is a critical part of taking care of ourselves. In the same way that we eat right and exercise to be physically healthy, we need to make healthy choices the be mentally healthy as well. Take some time to evaluate your routines and find ways to invest in your mental health. And if this article made you think of someone who could use help to unwind, consider gifting them the musical and healing sounds of a Wind River chime

If you’re struggling and don’t know what to do, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. (You can also text the same number.) Also be sure to reach out to a loved one and let them know how you’re feeling. Making contact with another person can make a huge difference.

 

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