What kind of music calms anxiety

It may seem like we are living in an age of anxiety, where feeling worried, upset and stressed has become the norm. But we should remember that anxiety is a natural human response to situations.

It comes when we are not sure what is going to happen, or when we feel under threat. And even mild anxiety can have a negative effect on our ability to lead a productive life. It can interfere with being able to enjoy the simple things in life.

When we experience anxiety, our heart and breathing rates increase and many other systems in our bodies experience overload. Anxiety affects our general physical health as well as our emotions.

In my work as a music therapist, I’ve noticed the impact music can have on anxiety. For example, in guided imagery sessions, the therapist uses specially selected music and the client is invited to describe what they are feeling and what images the music conjures up. It’s amazing what insights can be gained from simply allowing yourself time to listen and talk about what you see in your mind’s eye.

These may be as simple as becoming more aware of how music can affect emotions, or be used to explore past experiences or future dilemmas. It can also be used to find a place of comfort and a secure base where physical and emotional balance can be found.

A recent experiment explored whether certain kinds of music can reduce anxiety during a complex task and concluded that some music is better at doing this than others.

Read more: Surprising ways to beat anxiety and become mentally strong – according to science

Also, a study based on measuring physiological and emotional responses suggests there are certain qualities in music that are better at helping people relax.

The speed of the music should be relatively slow, the melody should be simple, and the beat and harmony should not hold too many surprises. Other factors, such as the complexity of the music and – surprisingly – familiarity with the piece, were not so important.

In fact, knowing a piece too well was found in some cases to be counterproductive. The genres most likely to support relaxation are classical, soft pop and certain types of world music. These are found to largely contain the musical elements necessary to help a person relax.

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With these musical elements in mind, here are eight suggested pieces of music that meet these criteria:

1 Ambient 1: Music For Airports by Brian Eno. This soundscape provides a wash of musical effects that echo the rhythm of our physiological functions, leaving space for us to attune to the slow tempo of the music. The album is described in one review as “the kind of music one might hear in heaven”.

2 Pieds-en-L’Air, from Capriol Suite, by Peter Warlock, a composer and former music critic. Known for his unconventional lifestyle, he died in 1930, aged 36. His musical legacy includes this soft and slow classical piece with a melody reminiscent of songs we may have heard as children.

3 Om Namah Shivaya by Deva Premal. The vocals of Premal and supporting music made by her partner Mital hark back to evocative chants from times past. The slow pace and almost hypnotic music combined with her clear vocals feel very supportive.

4 Someone Like You by Adele. While this hugely successful song explores the issue of loss, the slow tempo and cool accompaniment is found by many to offer a sense of calm and reflection. It has been claimed that the piece’s emotional strength is due to small, unexpected changes in the melody or “ornamental notes”, which create a melancholic tension.

5 I Giorni, by Ludovico Einaudi, an Italian pianist and composer who has written numerous film soundtracks. This piano piece, with its repetitive motifs and steady tempo, evokes a dreamlike state with moments of light and brightness.

6 In Paradisum, by Gabriel Fauré, a French composer who gained great popularity in his lifetime, but suffered from deafness in his later years. In this piece, from his Requiem, the choir and organ accompaniment provide a feeling of serenity.

7 Stopover at Djibouti by Anouar Ibrahem, a Tunisian oud player and composer. He is widely acclaimed as an innovator in his field, fusing Arab classical music, folk music and jazz. This world jazz piece has hypnotic motifs that can seem almost meditative.

8 Wilma’s Theme by Stefan Nilsson, a Swedish composer and pianist who is well known in is home country. This piece, which seems somehow familiar, has a simple melody and harmonies that provide a safe landing place.

This list offers some suggestions of music that could be used to help people relax. A favourite of mine, which I haven’t included, is the slow movement from JS Bach’s Double Violin Concerto. It never fails to give me a sense of feeling safe and grounded, something that can be so important when we may be feeling anxious.

It should be said, though, that many studies emphasise the importance of finding your own selection of music that works for you. Whatever your musical taste is, you have the edge on any prescribed playlist in finding what is best for you.


Each and every one of us have tried at last a few different techniques to combat stress or anxiety in our lives. It’s not only helpful with making you feel better overall, but finding ways to manage stress levels is important for your health too.

Thanks to modern research, we now know the harmful effects of stress on the body. Stress causes chemicals like cortisol to be released, and increases serious health risks like heart disease, obesity, depression, digestive problems, asthma, and many others. Additionally, there was a recent paper published out of Harvard and Stanford that discovered something rather troubling- “health issues from job stress alone cause more deaths than diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or influenza.”

So what’s the best way to take some of the pressure off?  Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International says we should listen to music- more specifically, one special song.

A team of neuroscientists, which Dr. Lewis-Hodgson lead, conducted a study on sound therapy. Participants had to attempt to solve puzzles, which induced stress, with sensors attached to their bodies. They then had to listen to different songs while researchers measured and recorded their heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.


Weightless by Marconi Union was found to reduce levels of stress and anxiety by a whopping 65 percent, and produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date.

“‘Weightless’ was so effective, many women became drowsy and I would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous,” said Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson.

What’s truly incredible is that Weightless was designed to do exactly that- reduce stress. Marconi Union, the group behind the song, worked together with sound therapists to create carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines, all for one purpose- to slow the listener’s “heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”


10. “We Can Fly,” by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)

9. “Canzonetta Sull’aria,” by Mozart

8. “Someone Like You,” by Adele

7. “Pure Shores,” by All Saints

6. “Please Don’t Go,” by Barcelona

5. “Strawberry Swing,” by Coldplay

4. “Watermark,” by Enya

3. “Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix),” by DJ Shah

2. “Electra,” by Airstream

1. “Weightless,” by Marconi Union


Keep in mind, in order for stress to go away, you have to stop giving it so much attention. If you listen to these songs and are constantly thinking “This isn’t working,” or “I still feel stressed,” then they probably aren’t going to work as well for you. Take a breath, and just enjoy the music.

By Raven Fon Retrieved from

Music is a great tool to help you relax, physically and mentally. It’s a way to deal with anxiety and stress and to make you feel calmer and happier. The following 3 types of music help to reduce anxiety.

1. Classical music

According to studies from the Anxiety & Stress Center in Illinois, soothing tones in music create a calming environment (optie: atmosphere) for people who suffer from illness or stress. Classical and other soothing music can lower the heart rate, blood pressure and levels of the cortisol stress hormone.

In addition, classical music increases serotonin production, which helps combat anxiety, panic and depression. However classical music is certainly not the only type of music that has positive effects on our health. The music we like differs from person to person and is determined, among other things, by our personal experiences.

The music styles that we like are the ones that help to reduce anxiety. There is no point in forcing yourself to listen to classical music when you actually hate it. That would be anything but relaxing! Only music that can make you feel good actually helps to reduce anxiety or stress.

2. Binaural beats

Binaural beats is another type of music that can reduce stress and anxiety. But not everyone is familiar with its power (optie: with the power of binaural beats). Binaural beats are created by playing two sounds of slightly different frequencies. One tone is slightly higher or lower than the other tone, yet your brain perceives these as a single tone.

This single tone is what makes it unique. Your brain – which vibrates at different frequencies – adapts to that single tone. As a result, the beats evoke a certain state of mind, such as focus or deep relaxation:

  • Delta (0 – 4 hertz) – deep sleep, healing
  • Thèta (4 – 8 hertz) – meditation, deep relaxation, creativity, trance
  • Alfa (8 – 14 hertz) – reduced stress, concentration
  • Bèta (14 – 30 hertz) – focus, energy, clarity
  • Gamma (30 – 100 hertz) – highly alert, highly conscious, memory

For binaural beats to work, you need to use a headphone or earphones, so your left ear hears a different tone than your right ear.

3. Sound healing

Another type of music to help reduce anxiety is sound healing, which uses the healing power of music to relax the body and mind.

Here is how it works. Sound healing uses sound vibrations for their healing properties (optie: uses sound vibrations to relax your mind and body). Think of tuning forks, gongs or singing bowls. When these are triggered, they create vibrations that have a powerful effect on body and mind.

Compare it with a stone that you throw into the water. As soon as the stone hits the water, small waves spread out from where the stone first made contact. The music vibrations are the waves and your body is the water they move through.

In the book Vibrational Medicine, Dr. Richard Gerber explains how music frequencies can help to rebalance the energy in a body that is out of balance due to anxiety or stress. Sound healing can shift low frequencies of fear into high frequencies of peace and confidence.

Music in the Meditation Moments app 

The Meditation Moments app has different sections dedicated to binaural beats and sound healing. In addition, the app is full of music for different purposes such as peaceful sleep, better focus, or improved relaxation. It also offers a range of music tracks that can be used as background music for yoga and meditation. All music is exclusive and specifically composed by our team in our own studio, which makes it unique.

Try Meditation Moments app completely free for 10 days

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