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Tapping into mindfulness through rhythm ?

By October 24, 2019Blog

Mindfulness is a mental state in which you’re totally focused on the present moment. It offers a clarity and sharpness of thought that provides, at the very least, a temporary reduction in stress. This mental exercise enables you to achieve a greater emotional balance. What’s more, experts have found that mindfulness can even reduce physical pain and mental depression. For the middle aged or elderly, mindfulness activities can help to keep the brain sharper for longer. There are many ways of achieving mindfulness. You might get there through practiced breathing techniques, yoga, relaxation practices or meditation, among other methods. But did you know that musical rhythm is another effective way to tap into mindfulness?

TRM And It’s Benefits
Therapeutic Rhythm and Mindfulness, also known as TRM, represents ways of getting to a state of mindfulness through group drumming or other forms of rhythmic musical expression. The goal of TRM is to sharpen your consciousness and strengthen your sense of social connection by incorporating drumming skills into a group dynamic. It’s not easy. It requires concentration, focus and an awareness of others – all of which are fundamental capabilities for strong mental health. Not only do you stand to gain these valuable benefits, but group drumming is fun!

Discover Your Place In The Present
The concept of TRM involves fully cultivating your awareness of the present moment. With your focus completely within the now, you begin to realize that the present moment is the only place where reality unfolds. This helps you avoid dwelling in thoughts about the past or future that don’t serve a purpose. Living in the present moment may relieve you of dark memories that you could have collected as unwanted baggage, or of the tension of
tomorrow’s expectations upon you. As long as you’re sharing in the rhythm, your mind will stay in the here and now. It’s a challenge, finding and maintaining this group rhythm. While you’re facing this challenge, there’s no time for stress or anxiety. You lose all concern about a fight with someone or the bills due tomorrow. There’s only your sharp focus on the rhythm to maintain. Your only responsibility is to add
to the collective sound of those within your new and present social network.

The Cognitive Benefits Of Drumming
Repetitive drumming puts us in a relaxed state of mind in much the same way that meditation or breathing exercises provide focus and stress relief. In all cases, we have no time for alternate situations as we concentrate on what we’re doing in the moment. The way that group drumming allows you to express yourself creatively is just as beneficial to your brain as if you’d taken up the violin, oil painting or poetry writing.
Creative expression, social acceptance and connectivity can be the result of group drumming. TRM has scientific support. The exercise sends messages through the neural pathways of the brain that can be adversely affected by negative emotions such as fear, stress and anxiety. And, as in all mindfulness exercises, it can slow the thinning of the frontal cortex of the brain that occurs with age and results in forgetfulness.

The Social Side Of Group Drumming
The social aspect of drumming within a group environment sharpens acuity and is as beneficial as a shared activity as meeting others regularly in a book group, chatting every morning over coffee or playing horseshoe once a week. Studies have shown that social interaction provides as much protection against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as a good diet, regular exercise and mental workouts. Drumming
and other forms of musical expression are mental workouts in their own right.

Drumming also taps into the innate human need to play. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of play in life. Whether you’re nine or ninety, you need to experience the joy, humor and sense of shared experience that play brings us. Music-making delivers that state of playfulness in spades. Creative expression in a group context can bring you out of the wilderness if you’re experiencing loneliness, depression, anxiety, grief or social awkwardness. TRM through group drumming can help you claim a space in your life where you feel you truly belong – and benefit your brain and physical well-being in the process.

Further reading ?

Effects of Community African Drumming on Generalised Anxiety in Adolescents 
By David Akombo
African drumming as a medium to promote emotional and social well-being of children aged 7 to 12 in residential care
By Kim Flores
The Impact of Group Drumming on Social-Emotional Behavior in Low-Income Children
By Ho et al
When the quiet child takes charge: Inclusivity and Confidence through African Drumming

The lost art of attention: Finding focus through African Drumming