I hate to state the obvious, but work is stressful! It just is. Even if you love your career — sometimes especially if you love your career and are extra passionate — things can get a little intense. And while there are plenty of ways to chill out when you’re on the job, you still need tools to help you unwind after the day is done.
Recently, I discovered a new way to do this, and let me tell you, it is awesome. I’m talking about sound baths, these immersive experiences where a practitioner plays gongs and crystal singing bowls while you lay on the ground. The idea is that the music played during the bath — gongs, crystal bowls, sometimes other instruments — helps to both calm and re-energize you.
Before you roll your eyes at me, let me reassure you that I’d also normally cast major side-eye at something so woo-woo, but my friend had discount coupons for a sound bath near my house, and on a whim, we decided to check it out. And it worked! The reasons why they’re so relaxing are numerous — with some easier to explain than others. Let me try.
Just preparing for the sound bath chilled me out
After answering my last work email and closing my computer, I took a deep breath and exhaled. Knowing I was in for more chill time, my mind instantly switched from work to relaxation. On my drive to the yoga studio where the sound bath was being held, I focused on my breathing. By the time I arrived, I’d completely forgotten about my work day and was fully ready to chill out.
De-stressing with others boosts your own relaxation
Most sound baths take place in groups, where you put out your yoga mat and then get comfortable on the floor. Before and after, you spend a little time talking to the rest of the people there for the experience, and there’s something very comforting about being with a group of folks who all have similar purposes — relaxation, de-stressing, and healing. Everyone is in a good mood, and after the sound bath, you feel bonded and connected to those around you.
Sound actually does relax and heal you. It’s science!
No, really. There’s actual research behind it, including some published in the journal Psychiatry, which speaks to the therapeutic nature of sound. Psychiatrist and neurologist Assad Meymandi says that music has been recognized for its therapeutic value since ancient times: Greek physicians used flutes, lyres, and zitters to heal their patients. The vibration was believed to aid in digestion, treat mental disturbance, and induce sleep.
At a sound bath, you feel encapsulated by the soothing sounds of gongs and crystal bowls. They wash over you and bring with them an instant relaxation that’s hard to describe — you almost feel like you’re floating within a cloud of harmonious sound.
The effects of the sound bath last
Now, when I’m stressed out at work, I try to sit in the memory of the sound bath, and I feel instantly calmer. I’ve even found some sound baths online, and added them to my “instant relaxation at work” playlist.