Does Listening To Mantras Really Calm You Down?

Throughout history, the healing power of sound has been well-documented in various cultures. Whether it's with an instrument, a voice, or nature sounds, many have found a sense of peace from the undulations of the sound waves that they choose to listen to. The same way that music can relax your mind and take you to a different place, adding mantras to your playlist can do the same.

"Music taps into the whole brain. It affects so many networks," Dr. Jonathan Burdette, MD, a radiologist and professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, told Yoga Journal. According to the outlet, when you're listening to music, it impacts your motor system, which controls your physical movement, emotions, and stress response. Furthermore, Burdette explained that listening to music can decrease activity in the Default Mode Network (DMN). This area of the brain regulates mind-wandering and self-referential thinking, Yoga Journal notes, and this slowed activity can negate repetitive, anxious thoughts. 

When listening to music, research shows that this decrease in activity in the DMN can improve cognition and lower numbers of ruminating thoughts. A common issue with anxiety, ruminating thoughts can slow when you turn on your favorite tune. The same is true for when you turn on mantras.

Repetitive sounds can help offset anxiety

According to Psychology Today, "mantra" means "tool or instrument of the mind" in Sanskrit, and mantras can help quell racing thoughts. Since music can benefit various processes in the body as well, adding your favorite songs or mantras to your self-care routine can make a difference in your mental and physical health. The automatic processes it positively impacts include your heartbeat, your breathing, and your parasympathetic nervous system, Yoga Journal explains.

Furthermore, when you listen to mantras and follow along with their messages, it can help bring your mind into a state of central focus. When you're struggling with anxiety, depression, or racing thoughts, inserting a repetitive, uplifting message can give your brain a place to realign itself. Used for centuries across different religions, mantra work has long been known to bring the mind into a more centered state. 

On top of the physical benefits of music and mantras, when you chant mantras on your own or along with the song, you can reap the mental health benefits as well. According to Kundalini Yoga foundation 3Ho, listening to your own voice can make a big difference and help you reach a state of relaxation very quickly.

As many of us look for healthy outlets, a viable one may be hiding in plain sight.