To say it’s been a stressful week is an understatement. You spent two hours in line Tuesday morning waiting to cast your vote (and were up all night nervously chugging glasses of wine watching the results roll in). And after three days of hearing commentators discuss the uncertain future of our country and watching anger and disappointment-fueled posts dominate your newsfeed, your anxiety is at an all-time high.
We could all use a little de-stressing.
If you weren’t blessed with the day off to sip tea on the couch while you wrap your head around the next four years (and do some casual perusing of apartments for rent in Canada), you’re probably doing your best to quiet your anxious inner monologue to actually get some work done.
What if we told you the cure to your stress—or at least 65 percent of it—may live at the end of one simple song?
The fact that music can impact (and help us manage our emotions) is old news. From the self-medicating (a round of Megan Trainer to raise our spirits on a gloomy Monday morning) to the clinical (music therapy is used to treat depression, Alzheimer’s and PTSD), the power of melodic sound is glaringly apparent.
Dr. Ariane Dahleim, a research psychologist at the University of Sydney, agreed that music can definitely be therapeutic, and said that “having a playlist handy may be a smart, quick way to slow down and take a breath before you act upon a situation, which leads to better behavior.” She also added that “music can elicit memories that may pull you out of a bad mood before it spirals into something disruptive.”
Science also supports the use of music for emotional regulation. A recent study monitored patients’ levels of arousal after heart surgery and explored the extent to which music could alleviate any stress. The results found that those who listened to music after surgery were less likely to develop complications than those who did not.
But before you load up recent hits on Spotify, you should know that when it comes to quelling anxiety and soothing stress, one track reigns supreme.
Neuroscientists in the United Kingdom claimed to have found the one song that relieves stress and soothes our soul more than any other.
To reach their conclusion they had participants complete difficult (and possibly stressful) puzzles while their brain activity was monitored. They were then played different songs as their heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and brain activity were recorded.
“Weightless” by Marconi Union, an English ambient music band, was found to be 11 percent more relaxing than any other song—causing a 65 percent reduction in stress among participants, according to Inc. It helped them relax better than songs by Enya, Mozart and Coldplay.
Sorry Enya, but the eight-minute song released in 2011 was created by the band (along with the British Academy of Sound Therapy) using scientific theory to do just that—relax listeners.
The group created the song in collaboration with sound therapists, and the carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms and bass lines help slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, Inc. reported.
You may need the ten-hour version to get you through the next four years. Desperate times.
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