12 Reasons You Should Listen to Music for Relaxation
Updated Sep 8, 2022
Music is a therapeutic tool that speaks all languages. Its accessibility gives it universal familiarity. Music’s power to influence at an individual level also garners sacred reverence in many cultures.
One of my favorite uses for music is relaxation. It works quickly to this effect without feeling repetitive or boring – common excuses for abandoning other habitual relaxation activities.
In a society that encourages pill popping and other quick fixes to remedy the aftermath of unrelenting pressure, music stands out as a cure that doubles as a reward. Not many people look forward to swallowing a knuckle-sized sedative. Compare that to the number of people, including yourself, who look forward to listening to music.
With over 95% of Americans listening to it every day, music has evolved into an essential part of life. Since this love of music lasts a lifetime, it holds amazing potential for motivating musical and non-musical achievements alike.
Even when you don’t actively seek out music, it surrounds you. Do you notice it in your favorite store or restaurant? Do you feel its effect in the background of your favorite streaming series, podcast, or YouTube video? Do you ever catch yourself humming mindlessly? The absence of music would make for an unbearably dull existence!
How Relaxation Music Works its Magic
Over the centuries, every aspect of life has been documented through lyrics or instruments. But music’s capabilities stretch far beyond a potent outlet for self-expression. Decades of research only scratches the surface of understanding the spectrum of music’s effects on the human brain and body. With every new discovery, music appears more impressive, useful, and even indispensable for health and wellness.
Relaxing music activates your parasympathetic nervous system, or the body’s rest-and-recover process. Specifically, the music triggers these 12 significant responses:
- Stress hormone production stops
- Concentration increases
- Perceived pain level drops
- Ability to cope with physical or emotional discomfort increases
- Sleep comes more quickly and easily
- Positive emotions reoccur with the same music in the future
- Feelings of contentment intensify
- Dopamine (the reward endorphin) ramps up circulation
- Heart rate slows down
- Respiratory rate decreases
- Muscles relax
- Racing, anxious thoughts subside
Pick Your Genre for Musical Relaxation
Not just any music serves up the previously listed effects. Browse the curated playlists below. All of the music adheres to clinical music therapy standards for relaxation. In other words, I’ve hand-picked each piece on a playlist based on the musical characteristics that make it therapeutically relaxing. Notice that the calming effect of music isn’t limited to any single genre.
Enjoy your next listening experience!
I’m a music therapist, dog mom, nature enthusiast, business owner, introvert, sleep and stress management coach, and research lover on a mission to help you remove stress as a barrier to better health, greater happiness, and more meaningful connections with the people and passions that make life exciting.