When it comes to dealing with stress, listening to your favourite music is one of the most relaxing and calming things that you can do. But before you turn up the volume on Beethoven’s Fifth or plug into One Direction’s latest album, pay heed to a group of scientists from the United Kingdom who claim to have found the world’s most relaxing song.
Most of us have a favourite piece of music that we know will relax us whenever we hear it. Maybe for some it’s a piece of classical music, maybe it’s a ballad from your favourite band. Some people may even find the sound of heavy metal helps them to destress. It’s all down to personal preference. However, a team of UK based researchers believe that they’re found the ultimate stress busting song which has the ability to calm and soothe us more than any other piece of music.
Several years ago, a market research company called Mindlab International conducted a study which required the participants to complete difficult puzzles while scientists monitored their brain activity. The task proved to be quite stressful for many of the participants, as they felt under pressure to finish the task. The researchers wanted to see whether music would help to reduce this stress, and if so, what kind of music elicited the best effect. Of all the tracks played, one song appeared to calm the participants more than any other by inducing a 65% reduction in their stress levels. When played, the researchers noted a reduction in the blood pressure, the heart rate and the breathing speed of the ‘puzzlers’.
The music was entitled ‘Weightless’ and was performed by an English band called Marconi Union, and proved 11% more effective than most of the other pieces of music played. These includes songs from popular singers and bands such as Adele and Coldplay. However, it may be that not all music is equal, as Weightless was created by the band in 2011 in conjunction with the British Academy of Sound Therapy in a deliberate attempt to generate a piece of music that would relax people. Other songs which came close were ‘Watermark’ by Enya and ‘Pure Shores’ by All Saints.
Music therapy is often recommended as a way to reduce stress and, as stress is known to contribute to ill-health and can trigger heart attacks and strokes, being able to find ways to relax is key to keeping healthy. So the next time you’re feeling a little stressed, put your favourite music on. It’s doing you more good than you think.