Chanting Away Loneliness

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Written By Editorial Staff

Loneliness is a universal human experience, a deeply personal state of mind that can be incredibly isolating despite being shared by millions around the world. Its ramifications extend beyond mere emotional discomfort, potentially giving rise to a myriad of physical and mental health issues. As we grapple with this rising tide of loneliness in our increasingly connected yet paradoxically isolating modern society, it’s essential to explore a multitude of therapeutic avenues.

This article shines a spotlight on one such avenue: chanting. This ancient practice, steeped in tradition and spiritual significance, may seem esoteric to some, but as we will discover, it has roots firmly planted in scientific research. So, how can the rhythmic repetition of chants potentially soothe the aching pang of loneliness? Let’s delve into this fascinating intersection of tradition and science, exploring how chants can help assuage feelings of loneliness.

Understanding Loneliness

Loneliness isn’t just about being physically alone. It’s a deep, emotional distress that stems from a sense of isolation or disconnection. In the modern, hyper-connected world, feelings of loneliness can paradoxically seem more potent.

What Are Chants?

Chants, in the simplest terms, are rhythmic repetitions of words or phrases. These can be of various types, originating from diverse cultures and religious practices worldwide. Whether it’s Gregorian chants from Christian monasteries or mantras from Hindu traditions, the purpose is often the same: to achieve a sense of calm, concentration, and connection.

The Therapeutic Power of Chanting: Meditation and Chanting

Chanting, when combined with meditation, can be a potent tool against loneliness. The repetitive nature of chants can provide a sense of stability and predictability that might be missing in a person’s life, while meditation fosters mindfulness and present moment awareness.

Harmony Between Body and Mind

One of the most striking benefits of chanting is that it creates harmony between our body and mind. When we chant, we engage our breath, voice, and attention, which helps synchronize our physical and mental state. This synchronization can produce a deep sense of tranquility, reducing feelings of stress and loneliness.

Activating the Relaxation Response

Chanting can trigger the relaxation response, a term coined by Harvard physician Herbert Benson. The relaxation response is our body’s deep physiological shift against the stress response. It slows our heart rate, decreases our blood pressure, and relaxes our muscles, which in turn can help to counteract feelings of loneliness and disconnection.

Emotional Release and Healing

Chanting can serve as a form of emotional release. It allows us to express our feelings in a way that might be hard to do with words alone. This emotional expression can be a powerful catalyst for healing, especially for people who often feel lonely or isolated.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Chanting, particularly when combined with meditation, can cultivate mindfulness. Being present in the moment, paying attention to the sound of our voice, the rhythm of the chant, and the sensation of breath, all contribute to a state of mindfulness. This mindful state can help us feel more connected to ourselves and the world around us, thereby reducing feelings of loneliness.

Social Connection

Group chanting, such as in a choir or a spiritual gathering, can foster a sense of community and belonging. It’s a shared experience that connects individuals at a deep level, often transcending language and cultural barriers. This sense of connection can be incredibly therapeutic for those struggling with loneliness.

How to Start Chanting for Loneliness

Finding the Right Chants

Choosing the right chants is a deeply personal journey. It could be a mantra that resonates with you, a phrase of personal significance, or even a line from a favorite song. The key is to find a chant that feels comforting and empowering.

Personal Stories: Chants and Overcoming Loneliness

Across the globe, countless individuals have found solace in chanting during their loneliest times. Their stories serve as inspiring reminders of the power of chants in creating a sense of belongingness and combating loneliness.

Tips to Integrate Chanting into Your Daily Routine

Creating a regular chanting routine can be instrumental in combating loneliness. The key is consistency. You might start with setting aside a few minutes each day for this practice and gradually increasing the time.

Scientific Studies Supporting Chanting

The intersection of neuroscience and chanting is a growing field, with several promising studies lending credibility to this ancient practice.

Effects of Chants on the Brain

A study by Kalyani et al. (2011) published in the International Journal of Yoga investigated the impact of chanting the “Om” mantra on the brain. The research used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to study participants’ brains and found that Om chanting resulted in significant deactivation in several key regions of the brain associated with inner peace and calmness, thereby reducing feelings of loneliness and disconnection 1.

Meditation and Chanting

Another study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (2017) found that Kirtan Kriya, a form of meditation involving chanting, hand movements, and visualization of light, could reduce stress levels and improve memory in highly stressed adults 2. These stress-reducing benefits can indirectly help mitigate feelings of loneliness by promoting mental well-being and connectedness.

Activation of the Vagus Nerve

A 2010 study by Kok et al., published in Psychological Science, reported that loving-kindness meditation, which involves repeating positive phrases about oneself and others, increased vagal tone—a physiological marker of well-being—alongside feelings of social connectedness 3. As chanting can be a form of meditative repetition, similar benefits might be expected.


  1. Kalyani, B. G., Venkatasubramanian, G., Arasappa, R., Rao, N. P., Kalmady, S. V., Behere, R. V., Rao, H., Vasudev, M. K., & Gangadhar, B. N. (2011). Neurohemodynamic correlates of ‘OM’ chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study. International Journal of Yoga, 4(1), 3–6.
  2. Innes, K. E., Selfe, T. K., Khalsa, D. S., & Kandati, S. (2017). Effects of Meditation versus Music Listening on Perceived Stress, Mood, Sleep, and Quality of Life in Adults with Early Memory Loss: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 56(3), 899–918.
  3. Kok, B. E., Coffey, K. A., Cohn, M. A., Catalino, L. I., Vacharkulksemsuk, T., Algoe, S. B., Brantley, M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). How Positive Emotions Build Physical Health: Perceived Positive Social Connections Account for the Upward Spiral Between Positive Emotions and Vagal Tone. Psychological Science, 24(7), 1123–1132.


What type of chants can I use to combat loneliness?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this as it depends on personal preference. You might find solace in religious mantras, traditional chants, or even a phrase of personal significance. It’s essential to find a chant that resonates with you and instills a sense of calm and connectedness.

How often should I practice chanting to see benefits?

Consistency is key when it comes to chanting. Starting with a few minutes daily can be beneficial. As you grow more comfortable, you can increase the duration. Remember, it’s not about the length of time but the quality of your focus during chanting.

Can anyone start chanting or does it require special training?

Chanting is a practice accessible to everyone and doesn’t require special training. All you need is a quiet space where you can focus on your chant without disturbance. Over time, as you get comfortable with the practice, you might choose to explore more complex chants or join group chanting sessions.

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