Recently I listened to a podcast that talked about the benefits of listening to Chinese seven-stringed zither and writing Chinese calligraphy. The host of the podcast is psychologist, and the benefits revolved around the brain and mind.
The host mentions that zither music can relieve stress because the speed of music is similar to breathing, and can slow the heartbeat.
Calligraphy can help with calming. During writing, our brain produces theta brain waves, which happens when when we are relaxed, but focused.
The host describes a study with people with sleep issues. One group was the control group, one group listened to zither music, and the last group practiced calligraphy. Our brain reacts differently to different types of calligraphy script. Practicing he older scripts helps balance our mood. Practicing the modern scripts helps our memory. For the sleep study, the participants practiced oracle bone script. The study found the two test groups benefited from their activities. The calligraphy group also produced more theta brain waves. The zither group also had a better heart rate.
In calligraphy, the breath needs to be balanced and steady, and at the same time the mind is focused on one activity, the body is relaxed and calm. The host then links this to mindfulness – being attentive to the present.
A quick search online comes up with a few articles on Chinese calligraphy and the brain, including a study on stress reduction, a study on theta brainwaves, and a study on older people. These studies were performed on people with Chinese as their native language. I wonder if the same results would happen with people who did not have Chines as their native language. Also, is it necessarily writing the characters that are helpful, or is writing the strokes in any order just as beneficial?