Music for Relaxation, Motivation, Meditation and Mood
Music is found in every culture, past and present, and varies widely between times and places. Music is likely to have been present in the population before the spread of humans around the world, for at least
50,000 years and the first music may have been invented in Africa and then
evolved to become a fundamental part of life. Music for relaxation is the second most recommended method, only slightly behind reading.
includes all of the world’s music that has existed before the historical
records begin. The origin of music is most likely from naturally occurring
sounds and rhythms, echoing these by using patterns, repetition and tonality. The first musical instrument was the human voice itself. Close behind were (most likely) drums, rattles, and flutes.
In 2008 archaeologists discovered a bone flute near Ulm, Germany. Dated to about 35,000
years ago, the five-holed flute has a V-shaped mouthpiece and is made from a vulture wing bone. The oldest known wooden pipes were discovered near Greystones, Ireland, in 2004. Six flutes made from yew wood, between 30 and 50 cm long, tapered at one end, but without any finger holes. They may once have
been strapped together.
Relaxing Music Science
This area of science is known as ‘psychoacoustics’ and analyzes “the perception of hearing and sensations produced by sound.” (Clarke, 2017)
Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of music on the body. While the idea of music is similar to that of mantras in that it produces an energy or a vibration.
Research indicates that “Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes are very effective at relaxing the mind even when played moderately loud. Sounds of rain, thunder, and nature sounds may also be relaxing particularly when mixed with other music, such as light jazz, classical (the “largo” movement), and easy listening music.” (University of Nevada, 2017)
Listening to music is linked to improving health by reducing stress effects. A study by Myriam V. Thoma, Roberto La Marca, Rebecca Brönnimann, Linda Finkel, Ulrike Ehlert, and Urs M. Nater (The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response, published 5 August 2013) indicates that listening to relaxing music prior to a stressful situation is beneficial.
Sixty female volunteers were exposed to a standardized psycho social stress test. Three randomly assigned conditions: relaxing music (‘Miserere’, Allegri), sound of rippling water, and with no acoustic stimulation. Salivary cortisol and salivary alpha-amylase, heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, subjective stress perception and anxiety were repeatedly assessed.
The study indicated that “music listening impacted the psychobiological stress system. Listening to music prior to a standardized stressor predominantly affected the autonomic nervous system (in terms of a faster recovery), and to a lesser degree the endocrine and psychological stress response. ”
Music has been shown to affect stress-related physiological, as well as cognitive, and emotional processes. The use of listening to music is of special interest in the management of stress and stress-related health issues.
Listening to music has a relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music. This type of music can have a beneficial impact by slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones. Faster music can make you feel more alert and concentrate better. Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life.
Scientific studies have attempted to measure the potential benefits of music. These research studies have found:
- Music encourages coordination and communication to disabled and distressed children
- Music reduces stress and anxiety in hospital patients before and after surgery
- Music can help to reduce the sensation and distress of chronic pain and postoperative pain
- Music can relieve depression and increase self-esteem
- “The Mozart Effect.” Experiments at the University of California at Irvine have shown that students’ test scores improved after listening to a recording of Mozart, compared with either a relaxation tape or silence. This may be because the processing of music shares some of the same pathways in the brain as memory.
Motivational Quotes Relax
Words can help to give us something positive to focus on. Stress can cause us to lose our center, to pull in different directions and keep us from resolving the cause of the stress. To return to center (a calm state), take time out to say a mantra or to read a short quote or saying.
A mantra or a quote can help focus your attention by giving your mind one task to perform, and by providing an effective way to release emotions. Mantras can help with creating awareness and with aligning that awareness between yourself and the world.
Use your first musical instrument (the human voice) to provide you with the music for relaxation.
Mindfulnes Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and to help with anxiety.
Breathing The most essential life process
Concentration following in-breath and out-breath fully until no other thoughts are present
Awareness of the Body shifting awareness from the breath to the entire body
Releasing Tension address and release feelings of anxious tension
Walking Meditation a favorite exercise and personal pastime, walking
Also, some guided meditations to help with starting on your own can be found on my Guided Meditations Page.
Mood Enhancement Supplements
For minor anxiety issues, supplements may be the way to enhance your relaxation. I am not a fan of medications; although for some, they may be necessary, if in doubt see your health care professional. I personally have in the past, currently do, and will in the future use an all-natural mood enhancement supplement.
Here is some basic information on St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Lavender, Omega-3 fatty acids, and CBD.
Music has been a part of our lives from the dawn before Time. Our ancestors most likely found the first music through the sounds of Nature and used those examples to make their own unique music. Those first camp fire gatherings must have been stressful, not only from the outside world but socially as well. Not really much different from today.
Clinical studies show that music can be a great relaxer, often only requiring just a few minutes to re-center and focus our minds into a more relaxed mode. Because each of us is unique, the music I find relaxing may not have the same effect on you. Listen to the music that you find relaxing, but sample other types as well. I have found that, for me, the music I choose for relaxation often depends on the stress I am under. Combining music with motivating quotes (or mantras) and meditation can be extremely beneficial.
Have you found you music for relaxation? The music that can soothe you? That can turn a stressful experience into something that you handle with relative ease?
Questions and your comments are welcome, leave me a note below.
Walking the Path of Peace,