Few will argue the benefit of physical activity for reducing or relieving stress, especially activity that encourages keeping a rhythm, striking an object and creating music. For these reasons, and many others, drumming is fast becoming one of the best ways for people to reduce stress, whether alone with a drum pad and headphones, during an aerobic workout with sticks and balance balls, or in a group setting like a drum circle with djembe drums.
Music therapists have known for many years that the brain craves rhythm, and that stress levels can rise when natural rhythms are interrupted or eliminated entirely. Much of this research and belief is the basis for music therapy and how music helps with many different physical and psychological concerns. The rhythms in music help reestablish the natural rhythms in the brain and body, eliminating stress and giving the listener the ability to self-soothe through the power of music and rhythm. These same benefits of listening to music can increase when the rhythms are being played on a drum, as the physical aspect helps relieve the buildup of anxious or stressful energies within the body.
Since drumming encourages both sides of the brain to work together, it helps to increase coordination in both thought and activity. By hitting the drum, the potential to release stress increases with each stroke, and those actions, when combined with the rhythmic therapy of drumming, are credited with helping to relieve stress in a fun, creative and therapeutic manner. Another benefit to drumming for stress is that the solo drummer takes the lead in the problems that are addressed by drumming and can choose fast or slow rhythms to help process stress related to relationships, career or other life stressors. For group drummers, the ability to be part of a bigger rhythm within a community of people can be just as beneficial to reducing stress. For these drum circle participants, hitting a djembe within a drum circle can promote the assurance of acceptance, regardless of stress-related issues. Having a tribe of like-minded drummers, for example, can not only assure the mental and physical benefits of drumming as stress relief, but also conjure up the feeling of unconditional support and acceptance of family, further helping to reduce stress.
Because of the stress-busting benefits of drumming, drum circles and aerobic classes that incorporate drumming are fast becoming low-cost and effective methods of relieving stress and are recommended by those who understand the power of drumming and music on the mind and body. By incorporating the actions, sounds and even community of drumming, the reduction in stress levels can lead to a happier and healthier life.