Music as Meditation

Brain Health, Cultural Capital

My Song by Rabindranath Tagore

My song will be like a pair of wings to your dreams,
it will transport your heart to the verge of the unknown.

It will be like the faithful star overhead
when dark night is over your road.

At a recent event at the lovely Origins Centre, legendary musician Pops Mohamed described witnessing the power of music when he visited friends in the Kalahari desert. He watched young children experience a meditative state while playing the mouth bow under a night sky full of stars and learned how this music was used to help women during childbirth. This so beautifully shows us the value of what we have in our traditions and cultures to help us. It is rooted in knowledge that has been nurtured over millennia.

What do we learn, what do we share, what do we need to treasure

Why is music important to me as a neurologist, with an interest in brain health?

Currently, many of us are experiencing more stress and uncertainty, potentially leading to anxiety. Chronic stress can increase the risk of mental illness and other illnesses that affect the brain and body. In fact, chronic stress may cause the memory and mood part of the brain to shrink, changing the way we learn and remember and increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding this we need practical tools to help us to find calm. Music is a practical tool that can help us to feel calm and reduce the impact of stress.

Listening to or creating music, well some types of music, can help us to relax and feel calm. This is so necessary currently as, for many of us, there are increasing stressors leading to anxiety and increasing the risk of mental illnesses and other illnesses that affect the brain and body.  My focus is on brain health, to keep the brain healthy, reduce the risk of illnesses that may affect the brain and to support certain brain skills that help us to live happier, healthier lives. Calm is one of those brain skills allowing you to think better, feel better, love better.

Do you feel constantly stressed and fatigued?
Do you have 20 minutes a day to transform your life?

How does music help?

Music has been shown to improve wellbeing and reduce anxiety and helps us to find calm. The benefits have been shown in different settings including in people with depression and dementia, and even in people who were waiting to have surgery done. Music has been used across time, space, cultures and people to heal as described above by Pops Mohamed.

Be conscious of the music you chose and listen regularly.

We have music that irritate us, music that makes us want to dance or fall in love and music that makes us sad. We also have music that helps us to feel calm and relaxed. Consciously choose the music to help you to feel calm, to reduce the impact of stress on your body, your brain and on your heart.

Can anything be simpler than listening to music you enjoy to improve your health?

I would love to hear about practices from different traditions or cultures or communities that can help us to find calm. Please share here, on Instagram or comment privately on this feedback form and let me know what you would like to learn about. More on the neuroscience of music and meditation soon.

Be inspired. Stay Motivated. Keep on learning.



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Do you feel constantly stressed and fatigued? Do you have 20 minutes a day to transform your life?


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