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Drumming Can Largely Improve Your Mental Health, Science Says

Drumming Can Largely Improve Your Mental Health, Science Says

Drums are more than just an instrument.

Percussion instruments have been a part of music therapy for a long time. Science has long shown that music has a positive impact on the brain when its used in a therapeutic manner.

In particular, drumming is great because it allows you to do something fun while firing up several important areas of the brain.

Here are a few ways that drumming can improve your mental health:

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It Helps You Get More In Touch With Yourself

Playing the drums can help you get more in touch with yourself.

One study showed that transmitting rhythmic energy to your brain allows both cerebral hemispheres to sync up. When you’re drumming, your intuitive side and your logical side begin to work in harmony. It brings you into a level of conscious awareness that is hard to reach otherwise. Reaching this point allows you to become more in touch with yourself.

In addition to your two hemispheres, drumming allows syncs up the frontal area and lower of the brain. When these areas have a strong connection, it produces “feelings of insight, understanding, integration, certainty, conviction and truth.”

All this allows you to transcend normal understanding. Ultimately, these effects allow you have real insights in your life.

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It Helps Reduce Stress

Is there a better stress reliever than being able to hit something without hurting yourself or others? Hardly.

Recent studies have shown that a regular drumming program helps people reduce stress. One of these studies also showed that drumming in a group even lowered employee turnover in professions with high-stress. Other indicators of low stress that they noticed was clearer skin and reduced hair loss among those who had been suffering from acne and hair loss during the study.

It Helps You Develop Intellectually

A recent Stanford University study showed that 20 minutes of daily drumming can help you develop intellectually. Picking up the sticks can help you boost your IQ and improve your concentration.

The study include middle-school boys diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. The psychologists involved in the study found that 20 minutes of rhythmic music was enough to help participants perform at a higher level in school. The effects were like the positive effects of the medications used to treat ADD.

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According to Howard Russell, a psychologist working on the study, “the brain is locked into a particular level of functioning. If we ultimately speed up or slow down the brainwave activity, then it becomes much easier for the brain to shift its speed as need.”

The study also found that drumming happens to be a great way to speed up brain wave activity.

It Encourages Creativity

Unless you’re playing in an orchestra, there is no right or wrong way to play the drums. People from every culture choose to play the drums in different ways. Whether you tap it lightly or hit it hard, you can play how you want without damaging anyone’s hearing.

Playing the drums allows you to come up with new patterns, methods and whole songs. A strong beat is a global language that gives you the creative license to get involved in whatever way you want.

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The combination of drumming and the music you make makes drumming an amazing thing for your brain. Whether you want to transcend your mind or just stop thinking, a quick drumming session can help you achieve your goals.

It Helps You Deal with Emotional Trauma

Playing the drums can actually help you heal yourself.

Recent research shows that therapists can harness rhythm techniques to help you create a calm sensation. This sensation encourages you to let go of emotional trauma.

Essentially, drumming allows you to focus on something soothing while processing your emotions. While you’re drumming, you feel safe and supported. That feeling breaks down the mental barriers that often prevent you from sharing your feelings.

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Last Updated on September 15, 2020

4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

Life changes are constant. Whether it’s in the workplace or our relationships, nothing in life ever remains the same for long.

Regardless of the gravity of change, it can always be a little scary. So scary, in fact, that some people are downright crippled by the idea of it, causing them to remain stagnant through anxiety.

Have you ever noticed how much of life’s transitional periods are riddled with anxious vibes? The quarter life crisis, the mid-life crisis, cold feet before getting married, retirement anxiety, and teenage angst are just a few examples of transitional periods when people tend to panic.

We can’t control every aspect of our lives, and we can’t stop change from happening. However, how we respond to change will greatly affect our overall life experience.

Here are 4 ways you can approach life changes in a positive way.

1. Don’t Fight It

I once heard one of my favorite yoga instructors say “Suffering is what occurs when we resist what is already happening.” The lesson has stuck with me ever since.

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Life changes are usually out of our control. Rather than trying to manipulate the situation and wishing things were different, try flowing with it instead.

Of course, some initial resistance is natural if we’re going into survival mode. Just make sure you are conscious of when this resistance is no longer serving you.

If you’re feeling anxious about impending life changes, it’s time to practice some techniques to address the anxiety directly. These can include meditation, exercise, talking with friends about how you’re feeling, or journaling.

If you’re worried about a big life change, such as starting a new job[1] or moving in with your partner, do your best to control your expectations. It may help you to talk with people you know about their experiences going through similar changes. This will help you form a realistic picture in your mind of what things will look like post-change.

2. Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Feelings

Whenever we’re in transitional periods, it can be easy to lose track of ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re being tossed about by life and like we’ve lost our footing, causing some very uncomfortable feelings to arise.

One way we can channel these feelings is by finding healthy ways to release them. For instance, whenever I find myself in a difficult transitional phase, I end up in a mixed martial arts studio.

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The physical activity helps me channel my emotions and release endorphins. It also helps me get in shape, which generally increases my mood and energy levels.

Exercise is important in cultivating positive emotions, but if you’re struggling with anxiety in particular, it’s important to cultivate a regular exercise routine as opposed to a one-off workout. One study found that “Aerobic exercise can promote increase in anxiety acutely and regular aerobic exercise promotes reduction in anxiety levels”[2].

If exercise isn’t your thing, there are other, less intense ways of cultivating positive emotions and reducing anxiety around life changes. You can try stretching, meditating, reading in nature, spending time with family and friends, or cooking a healthy meal.

Find what makes you feel good and helps you ground yourself in the present moment.

3. Reframe Your Perspective

Reframing perspectives is a very powerful tool used in life coaching. It helps clients take a situation they are struggling with, such as a major life change, and find some sort of empowerment in it.

Some examples of disempowered thinking during life changes include casting blame, focusing on negative details, or victimizing[3]. These perspectives can make awkward transitional phases much worse than they have to be.

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Meanwhile, if we utilize a more positive perspective, such as finding a lesson in the situation, realizing that there may be an opportunity for something, or that everything passes, we can come from a greater place of ease.

4. Find Time for Self-Reflection

Having time to reflect is important at any stage in your life, but it’s especially important during transitional periods. It’s quite simple really: we need our time to step back and get centered when things get a little crazy.

As a result, big life changes are perfect for doing some self-reflection. They are opportunities to check in with ourselves and practice getting grounded for a few minutes.

Take a look at this reflective cycle adapted from Glibb’s Self-reflection guide (1988):[4]

Use self-reflection when facing life changes.

    Self-reflective exercises include meditating, yoga or journaling,[5] all of which require some quiet time to get yourself together.

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    One study found that journal improves “self-efficacy, locus of control, and learning”[6]. A healthy sense of self-control can make the process of change easier to bear, so that in itself is a great reason to try self-reflection through journaling.

    To learn how to start journaling, you can check out this article.

    Final Thoughts

    Big life changes may rock us for a little while, but they don’t have to be as bad as we initially perceive them. If handled in a positive manner, transitional periods can pave the way for some serious self-growth, reflection, and awareness.

    Cultivate a sense of positivity and find ways to diminish the anxiety around life changes. Once you make it to the other side, you’ll be grateful that you made it through in the best way possible.

    More Tips on Facing Life Changes

    Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

    Reference

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