Drum Away Stress, Drum Up Creativity
Article by Thomas Price
Group drumming isn’t just for ‘hippies’ and expert drummers. This may sound strange, but hear me out. Drumming has been scientifically proven to have many benefits for the mind and body. Our modern daily routine (for most of us) is filled with minor annoyances from people we interact with. Add dealing with technology, an intense news cycle and an interrupted wake/sleep cycle, we can become overwhelmed and start each day operating from our sympathetic nervous system – the fight or flight flood of chemicals we create for survival. Sadly, when one considers overall the lack of community to support us in a positive way, it is no wonder some of us succumb to poor mood and less than optimum health. However, when one observes tribal folks engaged in life, with vigor and enthusiasm, they generally can be found to imbibe in community dance, drumming and laughter – the holy trinity of spirit-filled humanity.
Nearly every one of us have somewhere in our ancestry, a history of drumming. Name a culture….. and you’ll find a drum. As I’ve said, people around the globe have used drumming, singing, and dancing to raise their spirits, energize their bodies, experience their communal bonds, and celebrate the pure joy of being alive. And because we have lived so long with music and rhythm, the healing effects on our physiology are encased in our genetic memory. There is abundant evidence to demonstrate the act of playing drums has been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system, reduces cortisol production and can combat stress. Some studies have even demonstrated a significant increase in immune response (cancer killing t-cells).
Group drumming is increasingly being used as a tool for intervention in many areas of practice, by therapists, wellness practitioners, grief counselors, and substance abuse clinics. But besides the many therapeutic advantages, many drum facilitators will tell you that when people drum together, there is a positive impact on the individual psyche, as well as an increased sense of community among the participants. Sports psychologists call this group dynamic group cohesion. This cohesion exists when the members feel trust for one another and want to contribute to the well-being of the rest of the team. The drumming can give people the experience of what it’s like to be ‘in flow’ as a group.
How this mechanism in drumming works is unclear, but my belief is that the ‘rhythmic entrainment’ aspects of group drumming introduces what I like to call brainwave coherence….and depending on the tempos and rhythms used, the result of a session is a feeling of calmness, sometimes joyous camaraderie, and even occasionally – a group peak experience (a profound state of mind of collective understanding and connection). These types of group peak experiences often serve as a trigger for open dialogue about personal goals…which leads to understanding and cooperation to reach a common vision.
Innovative organizations require a culture of openness, embracing novelty and activities which promote the uplifting of spirit. With properly facilitated activities (including drumming) people are increasingly inclined to communicate better, are more empowered, and better able to be calmer and more playful in their work and in their lives.
Calm and playful people are creative and energetic people.
About the Author, Thomas Price
Thomas Price served several years as lead engineer in advanced product development, has an advanced degree in Leadership Studies, a professional musician and is also a certified hypnotherapist and drumming facilitator for unique, creativity boosting peak experiences.
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We occasionally offer drum circles in Wixom Michigan that are open to the public. Check our events page.