by Anna Hunt
Scientists discover that listening to the song “Weightless” by Marconi Union can results in a striking 65 percent reduction in a person’s overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.
The Anxiety Pandemic
“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” ~ Arthur Somers Roche
Anxiety is a growing pandemic in our society. The mainstream solution is a trip to the psychiatrist and an indefinite prescription for pharmaceuticals. As a result, many anxiety sufferers find themselves dependent on psychotropic drugs but still searching for relief.
Because of this, it begs the question if a pharmaceutical solution even works. Many believe that treating anxiety with a holistic approach may be more effective than expensive, addictive and sometimes even dangerous psychotropic drugs. Holistic alternatives range from treating anxiety with foods that fight inflammation, to exercise, yoga, and meditation. People also like to use age-old tricks for calming nerves, such as breath exercises.
Music is Effective at Reducing Anxiety
Music therapy is already an accepted alternative therapy for stress and pain management. It has also been shown to help improve immune support system function. Historically, indigenous cultures have used sound to enhance physical and mental well-being, as well as enrich spiritual experiences.
Now, neuroimaging has proven that playing music can substantially reduce anxiety. Scientists in the UK have identified what can be called the most relaxing song on earth song. By playing the song “Weightless” by Manchester trio Marconi Union, these researchers reduced anxiety by 65 percent in individuals who participated in their clinical study. Have a listen:
Science Discovers the Most Relaxing Song on Earth
Researchers at Mindlab International, led by clinical psychologist Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson, were commissioned to find out which song is the most effective at helping someone to relax. They played songs by Enya, Mozart and Coldplay, among many others, to 40 participating women.
The researchers discovered that the song “Weightless” resulted in a striking 65 percent reduction in participants’ overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates. Dr. Lewis-Hodgson stated:
“The results clearly show that the track induced the greatest relaxation – higher than any of the other music tested.”
“Brain imaging studies have shown that music works at a very deep level within the brain, stimulating not only those regions responsible for processing sound but also ones associated with emotions.”
Sound therapist Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, explains the process of how the song affects the body:
“[The song] contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50.”
“While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat.”
“It is important that the song is eight minutes long because it takes about five minutes for this process, known as entrainment, to occur.”
The study was conducted on participants who were asked to solve difficult puzzles, as quickly as possible, while connected to sensors. Participants listened to different songs while researchers measured brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure, and the rate of breathing.
Anxiety and Overall Health
Lowering anxiety can be one of the most important steps a person can take towards improving overall health and well-being. Stress can increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, depression, gastrointestinal ailments, asthma, and even obesity. It can also exacerbate these problems if they are preexisting.
Furthermore, researchers continue to discover that anxiety and stress can be fatal. Here are the findings published in a 2015 working paper out of Harvard and Stanford Business Schools:
The paper found that health problems stemming from job stress, like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and decreased mental health, can lead to fatal conditions that wind up killing about 120,000 people each year—making work-related stressors and the maladies they cause, more deadly than diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or influenza.
Top 10 Songs for Helping Reduce Anxiety
Here’s the full list of the top 10 relaxing songs discovered by Mindlab International during their research.
1. “We Can Fly,” by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)
2. “Canzonetta Sull’aria,” by Mozart
3. “Someone Like You,” by Adele
4. “Pure Shores,” by All Saints
5. “Please Don’t Go,” by Barcelona
6. “Strawberry Swing,” by Coldplay
7. “Watermark,” by Enya
8. “Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix),” by DJ Shah
9. “Electra,” by Airstream
10. “Weightless,” by Marconi Union
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