Brain humming is a simple technique that involves using your body's own “built-in” ability to relax and clear your mind—using the power of sound.
I’m referring specifically to using the vibration of your own voice. But don’t worry, it’s not singing and you never need to worry about being “in tune”!
I say this because if your voice can make a sound, then you already have what you need to start getting all the benefits this exercise can provide.
I’m going to share exactly how to do Brain Humming in just a moment, but first, I’d like to tell you about some of the important benefits it can offer.
There are several reasons why brain humming is beneficial. First, it reduces anxiety by helping you activate the “rest and digest function” in your body—known as your parasympathetic nervous system.
Second, it can boost mood-improving chemicals in our body like dopamine and oxytocin.
Finally, regular use of the exercise can help improve your overall resilience by strengthening your ability to withstand and bounce back from stress.
But how exactly does it do this?
To answer that, we need to look at an often overlooked part of your anatomy called the vagus nerve.
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When you produce a humming sound, your vocal cords vibrate.
This deep inner-body vibration stimulates the vagus nerve—the longest cranial nerve in your body. This nerve runs down from your brain to your abdomen, touching and interacting with all of your major organs along the way.
And when you stimulate the vagus nerve, it activates your parasympathetic nervous system — the part of you in charge of rest, digest and restoration processes.
When this happens, your body releases the natural chemicals that make you feel calm and at ease—putting you in your optimal state for healing.
Brain humming is one example of a type of exercise that I call “sound-based vagus nerve stimulation”. These techniques can have such a positive impact on whole-body health because they help “turn stress off”. And the more relaxed you are, the better equipped your body is to do its essential repair work.
Now let’s dig in and learn how to do it!
What I’m about to show you are 5 steps to successful brain humming.
Though it’s easy to do, it also has the ability to significantly improve how you feel—especially if you give it time to work.
To do brain humming, find a comfortable place to relax. You can also use headphones to block out other noises.
When you're done, just breathe at your normal pace and relax for 30 seconds. Notice how you feel in your mind, body and mood.
If you’d like to deepen the "stimulation of vagus nerve" experience, feel free to do several more repetitions of Brain Humming.
When I've taught Brain Humming to others over the years, the most common responses I’ve heard include:
Now if you feel nothing yet, don’t worry, you’re not broken!
You might need to try:
Remember, that it’s important to give these methods a chance to work by trying them out on multiple occasions—at least five times—before deciding whether they are for you or not.
If this Brain Humming exercise is already starting to help you feel good, I assure you, this is the tip of the iceberg in your journey to unlocking how sound can help you feel even better!
In fact, if you want to feel even better, here’s something for you. It’s a 12 minute tutorial of one of my best exercises for free. Just tell me where to send it by clicking here: https://www.donovanhealth.com/unlock-free-video
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The material provided on this site is for educational purposes only and any recommendations are not intended to replace the advice of your physician. You are encouraged to seek advice from a competent medical professional regarding the applicability of any recommendations with regard to your symptoms or condition.
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About the author:
Jim Donovan M.Ed. is a multi-platinum musician, educator and TEDx speaker.
His mission is to share the restorative power of music through education and performance.
Donovan is an Assistant Professor and Director of Music and Wellness at Saint Francis University.
His viral TEDx Talk "How to Trick Your Brain Into Falling Asleep" has been viewed over 6 million times to date.
He currently performs with his band The Sun King Warriors who can best described as as a blend of rhythm heavy roots rock, with a strong dose of big barreling drums.
Jim Donovan got his start as a founding member of the multi-platinum selling band Rusted Root.
There he co-wrote the song “Send Me on My Way” featured in the movies "Ice Age", "Matilda" and the Netflix series "New Girl".
During his time with the band 1990-2005, he recorded and released seven full length albums. Including "When I Woke" (3x platinum).
He also had the honor of sharing the stage with many of his musical influences and heroes including Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (1995 US/UK tour), Carlos Santana (1997/2002 US tour), The Allman Brothers Band (1995/96 US tour), The Grateful Dead (1995 Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA) and many others.
Send Me On My Way also became the first song on Mars where it “woke up” NASA’s Mars Rover.