May is Mental Health Month, a time to shine a light on the importance of mental health to personal wellbeing and overcome reluctance to seeking help. Mental health is key to positive relationships and feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment in life. Mental health is also closely linked with physical health. Just as with physical health, mental health problems can be successfully treated. Mental Health America, the sponsor of Mental Health Month in the U.S., offers information and tools on its website: https://www.mhanational.org/mental-health-month. You’ll find helpful information on maintaining mental health and dealing with mental health issues on this website, too, including the following:
Mental Health Support Is for Everyone
Take Care of Your Mental Health
1 in 5 people will suffer from some form of mental illness in any given year. Break the Silence, Break the Stigma.
The Sound Energy – A Miracle Cure for Stress
The impact of stress on the body reveals how closely mental health and physical health are connected. Stress can also lead to serious mental health problems like depression and anxiety disorders if the body is constantly overloaded.
The Stress Reaction triggers major bodily changes, such as:
- Sugars in the bloodstream increase to supply energy
- Muscles tense so they’re poised for action
- Heart beats faster to get blood pumping
- Digestion and other functions slow to save energy needed elsewhere
Stress May Contribute To:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease and stroke
- decreased immune defenses
- stomach problems
- poorer brain functioning
Stress also can lead to serious mental health problems, like depression and anxiety disorders.
The Symptoms of Stress Overload:
loss of concentration
difficulty making decisions
inability to control anger
increased use of alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes or drugs
increased or decreased eating
thinking often about what you need to do
Of course, none of us can remove the sources of stress. But, we can figure out ways to cope better with various kinds of stressful stimuli. A person with a well-integrated personality acquires high resistance against stress and will be able to react healthily while confronting unwholesome life situations.
Ten Tools for Resiliency
Connect with Others
Get Physically Active
Get Enough Sleep
Create Joy and Satisfaction
Take Care of Your Spirit
Deal Better with Hard Times
Get Professional Help If You Need It
The attributes of ‘Kali Yuga’ – The Age of Stress:
The Sanskrit word ‘Kali’ means fermented or contaminated water. While fresh water contributes to good health, and vitality, polluted water would induce stress and strain and leads to illness that manifests as strife, discord, quarrel, or contention. One of the attributes of Kali Yuga is the importance attached to wealth acquisition. Money and acquisition of money have become significant stressors in our lives. Money related problems are among top concerns playing a role in anxious or depressed moods. As avarice, greed, and wrath have become common, there is no contentment, nor discernment, and nor mental composure. As men are tormented by worries, the use of prescription drugs such as tranquilizers has become very common. Various methods have been developed to cope with psychogenic or internal stress including the use of psychotherapy. Unhealthy coping of stress is leading people to activities such as smoking, drinking, gambling, compulsive eating, and the use of mood altering drugs and chemical substances. Such unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress can trigger more conflicts both at home and in the society.
Creative uses for Sound Energy:
The science of acoustics deals with the nature, properties, generation, propagation, and reception of sound waves. Sound is defined as a vibration, a mechanical disturbance from a state of equilibrium that propagates by wave motion through an elastic medium. In gases, and liquids, sound propagates as longitudinal, compression waves. In solids, sound propagates as transverse, shear waves. Sound waves behave in many ways as light waves do. Sound is a form of energy like light. Light is an electromagnetic wave. Unlike light, sound cannot exist in a vacuum. Acoustics is important in fields of speech and hearing, the production of music, in warfare, in research, in exploration, in medical diagnosis and therapy. Sonar is an acronym for sound navigation and ranging. Sonar is used in detection and location of submerged objects like submarines by using acoustical echo. Ultrasonics describe the study of all sound like waves whose frequency is above the range of normal human hearing. Ultrasound is widely used in industry and in medicine. Pulses of ultrasound could be used to shatter kidney stones and gall stones. Ultrasonic drills and saws are useful in surgery and dentistry. Ultrasonic transducers have come to be widely used in medical imaging and have become a common diagnostic tool in pregnancy and for screening medical conditions that affect children. The technique of studying heart motions by ultrasonic means is known as echocardiography. In modern life we use sound energy in several creative ways.
The World is Full of Sounds:
We encounter a great variety of sounds in our daily life. All natural phenomena such as thunder, rain, waterfall, surf, and gusts of wind generate their unique sounds which could be pleasing aswellas frightening. Across animal kingdom, sound is used for detecting danger, navigation, predation, communication, and also for relaxation. Animals possess special structures for production and reception of sounds. The sounds produced could be mechanical or vocal. The special vocal organs could also produce speech and song. Mammals can also produce sounds with parts of the body that are specialized for other purposes. We can produce sound by tapping the floor or by clapping the hands. Many animals are highly vocal and can produce species-specific sounds.
By understanding the sound reception mechanisms used by animals, we can also protect ourselves. Snakes have no reception for sounds propagated through air as they do not have external ears. But they recognize the sound vibrations that are propagated through ground. Snakes often bite when they are stressed. During Operation Eagle 1971 in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the War of Bangladesh Liberation, I allowed a large group of snakes to move under my legs by remaining still and not provoking them with any attempt to move. I trained soldiers to protect themselves from snake bites. For example, we can easily alert others by shouting and announcing the presence of a snake while standing still and get help to avoid snake bite.
Humans have developed Culture and technology such as radio, telephone, and music that allows them to generate, record, transmit, and broadcast sounds. We should further explore the potential uses for sound energy. In ancient India, thoughts were propagated from person to person using the ‘oral tradition’ which involves the use of sound energy as a tool of human communication.
The Biological Effects of Sound:
A sudden, loud sound could disorient a person. High intensity sounds and exposure to noise could cause irritation, anxiety, fear, sleep deprivation, stress-reaction, and hearing loss. It could also cause permanent damage to the sense organs of hearing. High-order explosives produce a supersonic high pressure blast wave that could cause severe primary blast injuries in several organs like brain and lungs.
Humans appreciate the value of sound as a tool for obtaining relaxation, rejuvenation of spirit and for mental amusement and entertainment. The soothing effects of sound can provide us mental comfort, help in the healing and recovery process. The Indian traditions claim that sound could be used as a medicine and the sound could exert medicinal effects taking advantage of the mind-body connection. Sound undoubtedly can affect our physiological responses to stress. Sound could act both like a stressor and as a stress reducer.
The Mystical Effects of Sound:
A ‘mantra’ can be defined as a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of creating transformation. The vocal sounds of the ‘mantra’ have inherent meaning independent of the understanding of the person uttering them. The incantor need not know the meaning of the words employed and it makes no difference to the mantric action. When we take prescribed medications, most of us do not understand the chemical formulas of the active ingredients and the pharmacological basis for their medicinal action. The vocal sounds of ‘mantra’ could still work even when we do not know the reason as to how it works. Many of the modern medications are derived from plants, herbs, and compounds that were traditionally used for curing illness.
The Indian tradition advocates the efficacy of vocal sounds in providing relief from physical problems that afflict us. In Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7, verse 8, Lord Krishna states that He is the light of the sun and the moon, and that He is the Sound in ether. Light energy, and sound energy are aspects of the various energy manifestations of an Eternal, Original,and Primeval Person described as ‘Purusha’, the Lord God Creator. Our earthly existence is made possible by our Cosmic Connection with the material energies that we exploit to sustain and support our living functions.. Sound is a unique natural phenomenon of our earthly existence and because of its uniqueness it could be described as a creative energy. In the entire universe that we know and have explored, planet Earth is the only place where sound is generated, sound is propagated, and sound is recognized by living entites with anatomical organs and structures that are designed for that purpose.
An Elixir to destroy the ill-effects of Stress Pollution in the age of Kali Yuga:
The creative power of sound could be used to counteract the contaminating influence of the age of Kali. The sixteen words of the Hare Rama Mantra is first attested in the ‘Kali santaranopanisad'( Kali Santarana Upanishad) which is associated with the Krishna Yajur Veda. Creator Lord Brahma instructs sage Narada about the efficacy of this Mantra. The mere uttering of the phonetic sounds of words Hari, Rama, and Krishna is enough. A person does not require a Guru or a teacher to instruct the mantra. No fee is expected to obtain the knowledge of this mantra. A person is not expected to change his religion or observe any specific religious rituals as a part of using the mantra. There is no set time, or duration for repeating the words of the mantra. The words could be used individually or the precedence of the words could be rearranged. All the words are of a great potency.A person requires no previous qualification or training to use the mantra. There are no rites of initiation. It is unlike the practice of Yoga or Meditation. The person need not be in a temple or any other secluded place. The mantra could be used while fully engaged in the routine activities of life. The words could be repeated either out loud, softly to oneself, or internally within the mind. The mind hears the sounds of the words irrespective of the manner used to utter them. The Upanishad further states:
iti sodasakam namnam kali kalmasa nasanam
natah parataropayah sarva vedesu drusyate
iti—in this way; sodasam—sixteen; kam—collections of words;
namnam—of names; kali—Kali-yuga; kalmasa—polluting effects; nasanam—destroyer;
na—no; athah—than; paratara—other; upayah—remedy;
sarva—in all; vedesu—Vedic scriptures; drusyate—is seen
“In this way, the collection of sixteen names is the only destroyer of the polluting effects of Kali-Yuga. No other remedy can be found in any part of the Vedic literature.”
The sixteen words of ‘Hare Rama Maha Mantra’ are especially meant for counteracting the polluting effects of the age of Kali. After searching through all the Vedic literature, one cannot find a better method.
I am not surprised to read about the mystical effects of sounds that could transform our lives and protect us from Stress. I have personal experience of withstanding the physical stress imposed by sun’s scorching heat in the open deserts during military exercises. We used nothing more than a little shade provided by thorny bushes or the camouflage net that we use to conceal our presence. The shade would at the most reduce the heat by a couple of degrees and yet the psychological relief it provides us so immense and it enables us to resist heat the entire day. I spent time in evaluating people and witness their ability to withstand a great variety of physical, chemical, biotic, and environmental stressors. The sixteen words of Hare Krishna Mantra have the potential to destroy the evil effects of stress by increasing our stress tolerance, by inducing stress resistance and by protecting our biological existence. Kindly review a related blog post about Stress.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.