How do we find sanctuary in this busy world? Some people have plenty of places to get away from it all, a spare room, a basement, a patio, a closet (yes a closet), or a porch. Some, not so many choices. When you live in a home with children, pets, spouses, to-do lists, work, writing, the amount of sanctuary time can be challenging. We must set aside time for decompressing and peaceful sanctuary. Just as we exercise our bodies to maintain health, so must we do the same for our mental and spiritual well-being.
Our brains have to maintain a constant barrage of emotions, negativity, worry and cognitive function. How can we allow it to rest? Even in sleep, our brains are actively telling us stories, solving problems, hashing out the days events in a dream state. Giving the brain a rest allows the spirit to take over and renew. Music can do that, if we let it.
A Nature.com article (1) I came across shows research on music and the brain. It’s a bit technical and physiological, however, the premise is that music changes your brain connectivity, and with MRI imaging, the study shows the outcome. Whether you are listening to your favorite song or a genre you enjoy, you brain function “shoots sparks” in different areas. The level of connectivity allows people to tap into emotions and memories. The Veterans Administration is even funded a study for music therapy as one of the options for treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.(2) So, God designed our brains to respond to music? I believe so.
Music is crucial in my healing process and continues to be a daily necessity. I listen to it while working, cleaning house, and especially working out. I have a playlist on my Amazon Prime Music with Christian artists. I used the 37 minutes of tracks to get on the treadmill. The beat of the music taps out a march that ranges from 2.2 mph to 3.5 mph. The arrangement gives me a good workout. The music is joyous, worship-filled, and all about Jesus. It takes me over. My spirit sings, my muscles work, my heart pounds, and my mind rests in sanctuary.
For the extra nerdy part of our brains….
(1) “Network Science and the Effects of Music Preference on Functional Brain Connectivity: From Beethoven to Eminem” R. W. Wilkins, D. A. Hodges, P. J. Laurienti, M. Steen & J. H. Burdette
Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 6130 (2014)
Cognitive neuroscienceHuman behaviour
Received: 24 April 2014 Accepted: 16 July 2014 Published online: 28 August 2014
Erratum (22 October 2014)
http://www.nature.com/articles/srep06130, Accessed 4/06/2016
(2) PPO 10-075Guitars for Vets: Evaluating psychological outcome of a novel music therapy
Timothy R. Dillingham MD MS
Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI
Funding Period: September 2010 – September 2011
http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/research/abstracts.cfm?Project_ID=2141700403 , Accessed 5/18/2016