From Chaos to Calm
By Sharon Carne
What does tranquility mean to you?
To me it is a calm, peaceful, quiet, serene state of being. In these tumultuous times, it can also be challenging to create this calm state of being. At times, it feels like we are inundated by chaos and fear.
Yet, the experience of tranquility supports your health and wellbeing in so many ways! We usually associate tranquility with an emotional response of calm. It is also a physical response.
When you are in a tranquil state, your heartbeat slows down, lowering your blood pressure. As your heartbeat slows down so does your breathing and brainwave state. Your muscles relax. A ‘neural cocktail’ of hormones enters your nervous system like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and hormones that support your immune system and overall wellbeing.
So how can you create this wonderful state easily in a hectic life? Your natural wiring for sound makes it almost automatic! Have you ever wondered how people can remember the name and singer of a song in seconds? Radio stations host all kinds of contests where the fastest caller gets the prize.
Experiments in the field of neuroscience have found that many of us can do this in a fraction of a second to two seconds. That’s remarkable! Yet your brain is wired to do this.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Have you ever listened to a song and it brought you right back to when you first experienced it? It might have been a special moment with a boyfriend or girlfriend. So many couples choose a favorite song. Hearing it takes them right back to the moment when they declared the song as their favorite.
Think about some of your favorite songs from your past. I have a bunch of them. “Chattanooga Choo Choo” recorded by Glenn Miller and his big band brings me right back to my childhood with my parents singing and dancing around the living room.
My mom used to sing all kinds of songs during long car trips. “One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People Eater” got us through some pretty long stretches. It always brings me back to the fun we had as kids singing with Mom. You have to Google that song to believe it! “Twist and Shout” will bring me right back to school dances as a teen and I just can’t sit still for that one!
Everyone has a long list of these songs. The interesting thing is that your emotional response to the memories triggered by the song also has a physical response. This physical response usually stimulates that ‘neural cocktail’ of hormones that I mentioned earlier.
Finding the songs or sounds that create a sense of calm or tranquility can be a bit more challenging. Make a list of any of these songs or sounds that remind you of this. It might be a lullaby you heard as a young child. It might be the feeling and sound of ocean waves on a family vacation. Or a hike through a beautiful forest and all the sounds around you that created a sense of tranquility and calm.
If you have difficulty recovering some of these memories, the cool thing is that you can create a new musical or sound memory with the right sound for you. What are your favorite sounds or music that will take you to that tranquil place?
One of my favorite sounds of all is that of wind chimes. I find their sounds so beautiful. Over the years, I have been blessed with gifts of so many different kinds from family, special friends and students. Every one of them is treasured. Some of them have also found a place in my recordings.
Wind chimes are actually among humanity’s oldest instruments. I was surprised to learn this at first, but once I found out more about how they were used, it made so much sense. Wind chimes appeared in different cultures all over the world.
Some of the earliest chimes were made from bones, shells, stones, bamboo or wood. As mankind developed the ability to work with metals of different kinds, wind chimes were also made out of metal. Bells and metal singing bowls made their appearance around this time too.
The oldest wind chimes, so far, have been found in South East Asia by archeologists. They date back to about 5000 years ago. Hung around homes and sacred places, they were believed to ward off evil influences and spirits. The intention was to welcome good luck, helpful influences and harmony with the sound of the chimes. They were used in this way in many cultures around the earth.
The wind chimes made from hollow metal tubes are my personal favorites. The scales and tunes that can be created with the metal tubes are endless. My favorite is a set of wind chimes my sister gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago. They are based on an ancient Chinese pentatonic scale. The sounds take me right to that place of peace and tranquility, from the first note and every time I hear them.
I encourage you to explore sounds that can take you to that tranquil and calm place. When you find one or two or more, keep them close to you. Upload them to your phone. Use them whenever you need a moment of ‘ahhhh.’ It can completely shift your day.
Sharon Carne is a best-selling author, international speaker, sound therapist, publisher, musician and recording artist. From 1988 to 2016, Sharon was a faculty member of The Conservatory, Mount Royal University. In 2008 her work changed direction. Sharon is the founder of Sound Wellness, the Sound Wellness Institute and co-founder of the Emergent Workforce Program. Through the Sound Wellness Institute, holistic health practitioners receive the highest level of competency training in Canada in using sound and music to support their practice. The Emergent Workforce program is dedicated to restoring wellbeing, community, purpose, creative collaboration, and kindness to the workforce.