Drumming Down Stress & Anxiety
August 01, 2018
While walking around HopeWay's campus, you may hear the sounds of rhythmic bass echoing through the halls. What you've stumbled upon is one of the drumming workshops led by our pastoral care counselor, JD McNutt. He introduces clients to historical West African songs and uses the drums to help develop their meditation and teamwork skills.
Each drum is assigned its own unique beat. As clients select a drum of their choice, JD sets the melody and gradually adds the different parts until everyone is playing in harmony together. The clients have to focus on the rhythm they have been assigned so that they don't become distracted and get off-beat.
Studies show that drumming for even 10-15 minutes balances all four sides of the brain. The beat of the drum helps to ground a person's thoughts and decrease feelings of stress or anxiety. JD admits that when he is about to do something that makes him anxious, like flying or preaching, he will start drumming on his knees to help relax his mind.
When asked why they think drumming is beneficial, clients respond with observations like, "I feel relaxed now"; "I get a good exercise in when I have to maintain the beat of the drum for an extended period"; and, "It helps me build my mindfulness when I have to focus on one rhythm at a time".