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Sound Therapy for Mental Health: Insights from a Christian Integrative Therapist

July 8th, 2024

Welcome to the first blog in my series on the five senses and their impact on mental health. Today, I focus on hearing. As a non-pathologizing clinician, I believe that anxiety and depression are symptoms rather than diseases. By understanding how our senses influence our mental health, we can discover alternative ways to heal ourselves.


The Impact of Hearing on Mental Health

Hearing plays a critical role in shaping our mental health. From the words we hear growing up to the sounds that fill our daily lives, auditory experiences can either harm or heal us.


Negative Auditory Influences

  1. Negative Self-Talk: If you grew up hearing negative comments, whether from parents, teachers, or peers, these messages can deeply affect your self-worth. Phrases like "You're not good enough" or "You'll never succeed" can become internalized, leading to low self-esteem and anxiety.

  2. Negative Music: Music with negative lyrics or aggressive tones can influence your mood and thoughts. Constant exposure to such music can exacerbate feelings of anger, sadness, or hopelessness.

  3. Gossip and Negative Conversations: Participating in gossip or consistently engaging in negative conversations can foster a toxic mental environment. It can lead to increased stress and a negative outlook on life.


Positive Auditory Influences

Now, let's explore how we can use hearing to promote healing and improve mental health:

  1. Listening to Uplifting Music: Music has a powerful impact on our emotions. Create a playlist of songs with positive messages and uplifting melodies. This can boost your mood and provide a sense of hope and joy. Click on this link to hear my all-time favorite Christian songs that keep me grounded and focused.

  2. Meditation and Relaxation Apps: Apps that offer guided meditations, calming sounds, and affirmations can be a great tool. They help you relax, reduce stress, and center your thoughts on positivity. Here is my unlisted Morning Meditations playlist on YouTube.

  3. Affirmations and Positive Talk: Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Learn to stomp out the ANTS. Speak kindly to yourself and remind yourself of your strengths and worth. Over time, this practice can significantly improve your self-esteem and mental outlook.

  4. Biblical Affirmations: For those of faith, listening to what Jesus says in the Bible can be incredibly comforting and encouraging. Scriptures filled with promises and truths about your worth and purpose can be a source of profound healing.

  5. Sound Healing: Sound healing, using instruments like gongs, tuning forks, or singing bowls, promotes relaxation and wellness through vibrations, reducing stress and fostering a sense of peace. While Christianity does not specifically prohibit or endorse sound healing, this practice, focused on physical and mental well-being, is similar to physiotherapy or massage therapy and is not inherently spiritual or religious. Like mindfulness or yoga, sound healing can be part of a Christian's routine without conflicting with their faith. Christianity values the well-being of the body and soul, aligning with the idea of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Although I haven't personally tried it, I find it fascinating. As a Christian integrative therapist, I understand the importance of staying true to the word of God while recognizing that all good things come from above. Many seek healing and, in doing so, may unintentionally make it an idol. I have experienced this myself, but I choose to worship the Healer, the Great Physician, and the Wonderful Counselor. I am continually amazed by the world He created and the many tools He has provided us, often misunderstood due to fear and ignorance. With the right intentions and without conflicting elements, sound healing can support Christian values and even enhance our faith.


My Personal Journey with Healing Through Sound

In my own life, I've discovered the profound impact of hearing on mental health. I've been on a news fast for years, which means I avoid the constant barrage of fear-inducing news. Despite this, I remain informed about significant events. This practice has significantly reduced my anxiety and depression, compared to those who immerse themselves in what I call "fear porn."


Instead, I fill my auditory environment with sounds that promote peace and healing. I listen to binaural beats, spa music, Christian music, Native American flute music, hang drum compositions, megahertz sound therapy, and true nature sounds. I also use the Pause app and spend a lot of time outdoors, purposefully listening to birds with my eyes closed. This practice allows me to connect deeply with nature and find inner calm.


Many people claim they don't have time for such practices. However, as I often tell my clients, "If you don't make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness. You choose." This is the empowerment that comes from exercising our free will. As Viktor Frankl once said, "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."


Healing Through Sound in Different Cultures

Utilizing sound therapy takes time and practice to see the benefits, especially in our fast-paced culture. However, the effort is worth it. By choosing to prioritize healing sounds over harmful noise, we can significantly improve our mental health.


Throughout history, many tribes and cultures have used music and sound for healing. As a student of various philosophies like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine, I recognize that we are made holistically, and the Lord has provided everything we need on this earth to be healthy and of sound mind. It makes sense why sound has been an integral part of healing practices for centuries.


The Bible also supports the power of sound and music. For instance, in 1 Samuel 16:23, it is said, "Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him." This illustrates how music can have a profound impact on our mental and spiritual well-being. Psalm 150:4 also encourages us to praise God with instruments, saying, "Praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe."


Practical Steps to Improve Mental Health Through Hearing

  1. Be Mindful of Your Auditory Environment: Pay attention to the sounds around you. Are they contributing to your stress or helping you relax? Make adjustments as needed.

  2. Create a Positive Soundscape: Surround yourself with sounds that promote peace and positivity. This could be nature sounds, instrumental music, or recordings of encouraging messages.

  3. Engage in Active Listening: Practice listening mindfully. Whether it's during conversations or while enjoying music, be fully present and absorb the positive aspects of what you hear.

  4. Limit Exposure to Negative Sounds: Reduce the time you spend listening to negative music, engaging in gossip, or exposing yourself to other harmful auditory experiences.


In my practice, I've seen many individuals transform their mental health by becoming aware of their auditory environment and making conscious changes. By using these holistic tools, you can begin to harness the power of hearing to heal and uplift yourself.


Stay tuned for next week's blog, where we will explore the sense of sight and its impact on mental health. Until then, take a moment to listen to the world around you and CHOOSE sounds that nourish your mind and soul.


Heavenly Father,


We come before You with grateful hearts, acknowledging Your infinite wisdom and love. Thank You for the gift of hearing and the power of sound to bring healing and peace into our lives. We ask for Your guidance as we seek to fill our auditory environment with positive and uplifting sounds. Help us to be mindful of what we listen to and to choose sounds that draw us closer to You. May Your words of truth and love replace any negative messages we have heard, and may Your peace that surpasses all understanding guard our hearts and minds. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


In Service, Faith, Hope and Love,

Diana



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Disclaimer: The content provided on "Liberation Lunes" is for entertainment and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. The views expressed on this blog are my personal opinions and do not represent the views of any professional organizations with which I am affiliated. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, 911, or 988 immediately. "Liberation Lunes" does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the blog. Reliance on any information provided by "Liberation Lunes," others appearing on the blog at the invitation of "Liberation Lunes," or other visitors to the blog is solely at your own risk.

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