Sound and music have long been known to have healing power. Drumbeats have been used in healing rituals across cultures, often tying together spiritual experiences and community bonding. Many of us listen to music to cope with breakups, loneliness, and other hard times. Or perhaps we listen to sounds in nature – running water, the wind through the trees, the crunch of leaves underfoot. The compassionate tone in a loved one’s voice is also soothing to us. Sound and music have a profound and mysterious effect on our wellbeing in that they create emotional responses very quickly. Knowing this, we can strategically use sound and music throughout our days as a tool towards greater mental, emotional, and spiritual alignment. In the videos below, you can learn more about the science behind music and how it can become a more integral part of your life.
Mood Music: Four Times Each Day, Music Can Powerfully Cue Our Emotions
Dr. Cupchik talks about how we are cued emotionally by music. He asks, What if we are empowered, on our paths of wellbeing, with knowledge of which musics cue which emotions? He outlines four times in our daily lives when music’s ability to cue our emotions seem to be most effective: (1) getting up in the morning, and starting the day with a sense of purpose, drive, and meaning. (2) taking a 2-minute break during the day by listening to music that keeps us centered, and from which we can make better decisions. (3) sustaining a good study or work flow state. The use of binaural beats combined with nature sounds can help sustain a state of productivity for a long time. (4) music/sound that assists you to sleep, and really relax. These can include ASMR and specific tracks that you discover work for you. He encourages each of us to self-experiment. Dr. Cupchik suggests that by gaining an understanding of how music affects our emotional states, we can be more in control of our moods, which can augment our sense of wellbeing.
Voice: Compassion Fatigue or Communication Fatigue?
Dr. Cupchik explains how important our voices are in our interactions. Oftentimes, the ‘customer service’ voices we are taught to put on can be exhausting, because they engage our vocal apparatus in a different way. Our natural voices are much more relaxed. Using the example of the way mothers speak to their babies, Dr. Cupchik explains the natural ‘compassionate tone’ we have with loved ones. This tone isn’t only generated by compassion, but can also create feelings of compassion.
Compassionate Voice: Patient-Physician Communication
Dr. Cupchik explains a finding from his study of mothers singing to their infants: when the infant is present, there is a regular pulse to the mother’s voice that isn’t there when the infant is not present. He explains how these insights around what a compassionate voice sounds like can be utilized in healthcare fields. We need to communicate from a genuine place of compassion in order to avoid the fatigue that come from ‘putting on’ compassion. Compassionate communication is challenged due to the time-crunch of most healthcare interactions, but there are still ways to have genuine connection within these confines.
How Long Does it Take to Cause a Shift in Your State?
Dr. Cupchik talks about the innovative ways we can use sound and music for self-care. He mentions ASMR and a website called coffitivity.com that simulates the busy sounds of a cafe. He also points out that music is an art form that takes place over time, just like any healing ritual. Traditional healing rituals, in fact, always include some form of music, which carry you through different emotional states and into healing. Dr. Cupchik then gives some examples of songs he has listened to that have the power to change his mood in a mere matter of seconds. The big questions are: What is it about music that affects us so profoundly? And what is it about us that allows music to have such an effect? Through studying these questions, we can begin to learn about ways that music can be used in caring for both others and ourselves.