Many people are looking for anything that will help their mental health symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, during these difficult times. They will try meditation, holistic ideas, exercise, yoga, etc. One thing many people overlook that brings stress and anxiety relief is playing a musical instrument, especially the drums. With anxiety, stress, and depression on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the perfect time to explore a new option for dealing with mental health issues.
You are probably wondering how in the world playing drums can help anxiety and stress. There is scientific evidence that the vibrations and beats of the drums can help reduce stress levels in the body. We have cortisol in our bodies which is a trigger for stress and anxiety. If your cortisol levels are consistently high, the body presents various physical and mental symptoms. Some of those symptoms include a lowered immunity level so you become more prone to infections, a risk of cardiovascular diseases, and anxiety disorders. The auditory rhythm of the drums releases antibodies called immunoglobin A that help to reduce cortisol levels. Drumming has been shown to have a positive effect on conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, hypertension, asthma, chronic pain, PTSD, MS, and addiction. Learning to play the drums and following a rhythm can boost antibodies for your overall wellness, a great advantage during this pandemic.
When someone is concentrating on the rhythm of drumming and trying to keep pace with the beat it requires complete focus. This means your mind is not stressing and worrying about other things. This is one of the biggest mental factors of depression and anxiety, a state of constant worry. If you can keep your mind off worrying while drumming and having fun, that is another bonus. Drumming also induces euphoric feelings through an increase in Alpha waves. When the brain transitions from Beta waves (concentration) to Alpha waves, it leaves you feeling calm and relaxed with a feeling of well-being. This is the same type of Alpha activity associated with meditation. One study compared blood samples of participants after one hour of drumming and there was a reversal in stress hormones.
Another common issue with people suffering from depression and anxiety is a struggle for social connections. Music is known as the universal language because it transcends language and social barriers and unites people despite their diversities. Playing the drums can open doors to form friendships and connect with others through music. Drumming groups are common and a great social activity that reduces anxiety, stress, and depression.
Research has also shown a correlation with increased intelligence scores and playing rhythmic music, such as tapping the drums. Keeping the beat, means you are helping your brain to develop problem-solving skills. The physical transmission of rhythmic energy to the brain synchronizes the left and right hemispheres to pulse together, which strengthens your intuitive and problem-solving skills, and synchronizes the non-verbal and frontal cortex in the lower areas of the brain, which deal with language and reasoning. Some studies have shown improvement through therapeutic drumming for people with brain impairment from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), strokes, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Another benefit is the physical exercise with drumming. With physical exercise, dopamine and serotonin are released, the “feel good” neurochemicals in our bodies. Drumming can provide you with release from stress while it burns calories. One hour of drumming burns approximately 250 calories for a 180-pound individual, almost as much as common cardio exercises such as indoor cycling, running, or dancing. Many people with depression and anxiety also have a lack of self-worth. Drumming builds confidence and a sense of accomplishment, which increases your motivation.
With all the benefits of drumming it makes sense to give it a try. What better time to try a new hobby than when you are social distancing through this pandemic? Grab some drumsticks and a drum pad and visit one of the many free drumming websites to learn the basics. When the social distancing is over, join a drumming group and gain the bonus of social bonding.
Aspire Counseling Services strives to provide multiple solutions for you to explore to maintain your mental health. Drumming is just one more tool to get you back on track to a healthy mind and stress-free living. If you have more questions, give us a call.
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