Depression affects over 300 million people worldwide. And chances are, you’ve been affected by it in some way.
But whether you, or a loved one, have struggled—or is struggling—with the heaviness of depression, the good news is that there are helpful, pill-free solutions available…and you can access them right at this very moment.
While you may already be familiar with common, mainstream depression treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and antidepressants, you might not be aware of the “built-in” ability you already have to combat depression—naturally…
Now, I'm not telling you to stop taking your medication or to stop going to your therapy sessions. What I am saying is that there are other things you can do right now to help yourself.
And all that you need to do this is quite simple: your ability to create sound.
Upon first glance, I realize it might seem far-fetched to think that sound can help with something as serious as depression. Yet the emerging body of research on this subject suggests otherwise.
Check this out...
The healing powers of buzzing bees
During an eight-week study in India, researchers set out to determine whether or not self-created sounds, like chanting, could improve general well-being.
Thirty-one male participants were selected from a university in Bengaluru, India. Each were instructed to employ a sound technique that emulated the humming sound of a buzzing bumble bee for several minutes.
Then the researchers measured the participants’ brain wave activity using an electroencephalogram (EEG).
What they found was an increase in the brain’s theta range activity (the type of brain waves associated with ideation and mental relaxation). Researchers noted these results were similar to those obtained with meditation techniques.
The study also found that participants benefited in other significant ways including reductions in:
Additionally, participants reported that making these simple humming sounds not only helped them increase control over their breath, but also reduced their anxiety and improved their mood.
Even doing the exercises as little as once per week helped keep depression at bay.
Chanting your way to a better mood
Another study on Cistercian monks from Austria also showed promising results for how sound can help address depression.
Heiligenkreuz Abbey is a Cistercian monastery in Austria. It was founded in 1133 and is the oldest Cistercian monastery in the world. The monks who live there regularly perform Gregorian style chanting as part of their spiritual practice. (Gregorian chanting is the monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song of the Roman Catholic Church.)
The study was originally aimed at discovering how sound generated by chanting might affect the monks’ blood pressure and heart rate. Both were measured over a 24-hour period.
The lead scientist in the study, Dr. Alan Watkins, a doctor of neuroscience at Imperial College London, describes his findings:
"We have recently carried out research that shows how regular breathing and the musical structure of chanting can have a significant and positive physiological impact.”
Results showed that the monks' heart rate and blood pressure dropped while they were chanting.
But what surprised Dr. Watkins were the additional benefits he discovered, which included:
My effortless, everyday depression-fighting secret
Personally, I use sound exercises as a daily preventative health measure. Living in western Pennsylvania, the winter months are full of cold, gray days and less sunlight. Winter has historically been a tough time for my mood.
But rather than just stand by and wait for the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (aptly abbreviated “SAD”) to creep in, I now invest about two to ten minutes (sometimes more) each morning to doing either a chanting exercise, or just singing along to the radio for a few songs.
Sure, there are certainly times when I’m having a busy day or simply just don’t feel like it, but I press on and make the time for this daily practice—and for myself. Because in the end, I know it’s worth it.
Because without fail, this small, simple technique helps to clear my mind, sharpen my focus, and most of all, keep my mood calm and content.
Three all-natural happiness hacks you can start today
If depression is getting in the way of your day, here are three easy things you can try right now:
You should notice immediate changes in your mood, mental clarity, and demeanor.
So there you have it—an easy, all-natural, completely pill-free strategy to boost your mood, lessen anxiety, and improve focus.
You have more power over your health than you might realize. Better yet, many of the tools you need to lead a happier, healthier life, are already within you. It’s all a matter of unlocking them.
It’s my aim to share more of these tools and strategies with you so you can harness this power to enrich and enjoy your life—and the world around you.
“Depression.” World Health Organization, 3/22/18. (who.int/news-room/fact-
“Neurohemodynamic correlates of ‘OM’ chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study.” International journal of yoga. 2011; 4(1): 3-6. doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.
“Gregorian chanting ‘can reduce blood pressure and stress.’” Daily Mail, 5/2/18. (dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/