Many of us with attention issues are also extremely sensitive to external stimuli, especially sound. Being in the midst of a lot of noise—at the supermarket, on the highway, in crowded places—can make all our attention and stress problems worse.
We are often surrounded by all kinds of sounds, and those of us who live in cities are subjected unwillingly to horns, sirens, and traffic noises.
But just as sound can irritate and upset, it also has the power to calm and soothe.
Sound, voice, and music are potent tools for restoring the inner balance of the body.
Using the right sounds can stimulate the parasympathetic part of our nervous system, and this helps us to pay attention in a calm, focused way.
Research studies have shown the health benefits of certain kinds of music: it can lower blood pressure and heart and respiratory rates; reduce cardiac complications; increase the immune response; and boost our natural opiates.
You can listen to classical music, such as Baroque, or sounds of nature, such as waves, waterfalls, and bird song to bring you greater calm and focus. Some people like modern electronic music, trance music, or calming new-age music.
Chanting and singing are also powerful means of healing and have been used for centuries in many of the world’s traditions and cultures. Using any inspirational sound, such as a prayer, a phrase, or a syllable, can be helpful. Such sounds are often called mantras.
A mantra is a repeated word or sound that gives the mind a calm focus and helps the body relax.
Mantras combine breath work and sound. Using a tone helps us draw in a deeper breath and let it out slowly, both of which calm the body-mind.
Science and medicine have validated the extreme positive effects of mantra on the mind and body.
When you are uptight and anxious, try using the sound AH.
In Buddhism, AH is the source and essence of all sound. People of any faith or no faith at all can use it. It is a universal sound.
The following practice comes from the book Boundless Healing by Tulku Thondup.
There are three ways to use the sound AH:
1.Relax your stomach as you breathe in. Then as you sing AH, the breath can fully come up from the diaphragm. Sing it in a loud and inspiring voice. When you inhale, hear the singing sound in your mind.
2.Sing it in a soft voice, as if you were whispering. While inhaling, hear the soft, singing sound of AH.
3.In the silent voice of your mind, sing the sound AH. Silently sing it as you exhale and inhale.
As you do this practice, feel that every cell of your body is enjoying the singing of AH, the sound of healing and light. Then rest in silence.
“Notice the positive, expand on the feeling, and keep the healing energy flowing.”
Tulku Thondup, author of Boundless Healing: Meditation Exercises to Enlighten the Mind and Heal the Body.