Our world is made up of many sounds. Do sounds make us feel a certain way depending on the tone? Can we become more relaxed by a soothing voice? Research has shown the answer to those questions to be yes and yes. There are a wide variety of sounds that can help us de-stress and improve our lives. Here’s why certain tones make you feel more relaxed.
Why is relaxation important?
Before we look at why certain tones make us feel more relaxed, we need to remind ourselves that relaxation is an important aspect of life that we should nurture. The number one reason why we should embrace relaxation is that according to the Center for Disease Control/National Institute on Occupational Safety & Health or CDC over 110 million people die every year due to illnesses related to stress such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.1 Therefore, whatever we can do to relax more is a good thing.
Listening to nature has proven to be relaxing
There are certain sounds from a variety of sources that help us feel relaxed. One source is probably no surprise to you, and that’s the sounds of nature. Whether it’s the soothing sounds of rain falling by your window, or the sounds a gentle ocean wave, or the sounds of the wind, nature sounds help us to feel less stressed and more relaxed. In fact, organizations such as the National Sounds and Night Skies Division based in Colorado has determined that natural sounds are a valuable resource that we should do whatever we can to protect.2
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But what if you’re living in a city location and getting close to nature is something you rarely get to do? That’s one reason why there are so many relaxation apps available that have a focus on nature sounds. One of the benefits of these apps, besides their focus on sounds that are relaxing, is that you can use them whenever you feel the need to get rid of the stress. So if you’re waiting in a busy airport, walking your dog down a busy street, driving to work and fighting traffic, trying to beat insomnia, and more, using these apps can help you relax in stressful situations.3
Listening to music can make us relaxed
We know that nature sounds help us to feel more relaxed. But so can listening to music. And there’s science behind it. It’s been shown that the frontal lobe, where intelligent thoughts and emotions are created, is activated when we listen to music. So listening to certain kinds of music can help us with what we want to do, such as relax to go to sleep or unwind enough to stop worrying about a problem. If you want to relax, the music should be calm, gentle and without any loud sounds— just like the sound of nature or the tone of a soothing voice.
However, the sound that relaxes you can be highly subjective even though in most cases it’s the calming sounds that are the best. For example, what musical sounds do you remember from your childhood that made you relaxed? Recreating these sounds as an adult can be an effective way to relax and it’s also a fun way to remember a time when things may have been less stressful.
Listening to classical music is another way to relax. It has been shown that certain forms of classical music, such as those by Mozart, can clear our minds and clear out the cobwebs that can create confusion and stress. In fact, on of the primary reasons people listen to classical music is for relaxation.4
Binaural beats have shown to put some in deep relaxation
What has been shown to get us even more relaxed, even in a sort of a hypnotic state for some, is the listening to binaural beats. These are tones that fall under the category of sound wave therapy used to treat specific psychological and physical conditions, such as anxiety and stress.5 Listening to the beats is similar to meditation, and they fall under specific patterns, namely Gamma, Theta, Delta, Beta, and Alpha. Experts recommend that listening to these beats can be done every day, but should only be done for a certain period every day, such as 30 to 45 minutes. In addition, they should be done with an item such as a stereo headphone to block out outside sounds.
Furthermore, it is recommended that listening to these beats should be done lying in a relaxed state.6 Because listening to the beats can create intense relaxation, precautions are necessary before you explore them. For example, if you have certain mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, the beats can adversely change your brain waves, causing your condition to be aggravated. Or, if you are pregnant, these kinds of beats can induce labor. It’s not a bad idea to check with your doctor before you explore the intensity of binaural beats.7
Mantra meditation can help us relax
One of the most popular ways to relax is through meditation. Meditation is a practice dating back to ancient times that involves deep relaxation and a focus on the breath. The goal while meditating is to clear your mind as much as you possibly can, and to breathe in order to relax and lower your heart rate. It is one of the most popular ways to get rid of stress.8
Using a mantra during meditation is a favorite tool involving sound that can help you with your focus. What is known as mantra meditation is a kind of meditation where you repeat a calming word to enable your focus better. It is a form of sound meditation that uses a specific sound, not just any sound. When a person with a soothing voice practices mantra meditation, they are focusing on that particular sound and not worrying about the past, the present or the future. Being present helps to reduce stress and anxiety and rid the body of worry. Practicing mantra meditation, even for just five minutes a day, can help reduce stress and anxiety.9
Soothing voices and sounds through ASMR
One of the exciting phenomenon’s of the 21st-century is known as ASMR artists. Autonomous sensory meridian response or ASMR is the description for a mental as well as a physical sensation you can have when you listen to someone speak to you in a low, pleasant, soothing voice. When the sound of the voice is heard, which may also be accompanied by images, some people experience a tingling sensation in their brains. Others have a feeling along their spine that resembles “goose bumps.” Still, others become either dazed or drowsy.
More and more of these ASMR artists are showing up on sites like YouTube where you can listen to them and relax. For those where this kind of relaxation works (it doesn’t work for everyone) it can be a healthy and natural way to get rid of stress. 10
No matter what sounds you find that have proven to help you relax, it is wise to include them in your life as much as possible. Whether it’s through the sounds of nature, classical music, mantra meditation, or binaural beats, soothing voices and tones can play a huge role in helping reduce the stress in your life. While you practice any of these activities, you can enhance the relaxing experience with a Zen MONQ and feel presence and peace with a blend of frankincense, ylang-ylang, and orange.
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