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Self-Care. Mental health. Well-being.

The Secret of Picking Music for Relaxation

Updated: Jan 21

A woman is sitting in a field wearing headphones. See is listening to music and looking upwards.

Ever listened to music that's supposed to be "relaxing" and found it to be anything but? That's because music is an intensely personal experience. Music that one person finds enjoyable and relaxing can be vastly different from someone else's. So finding music to relax with is more about tuning into your preferences and favourites, and less about someone else's labelling or categories.

Finding your music

Take a look at your "most played" playlist. That's likely to be where you'll find your best track to use for relaxation and reducing the negative effects of stress. Another way is to recall and track down songs from different periods of your life – times that bring back pleasant memories.

Ways to relax

A surefire way to treat yourself to a period of calm is to pair music with a relaxation technique. Combining mental imagery with your favourite tune can be a powerful stress-busting method. Try this:

  • Pick a track you enjoy. (Try a track that is instrumental – without lyrics)

  • Start your player and put it on repeat mode. (Why interrupt your relaxation after one play?)

  • If comfortable, continue with your eyes closed. (Or keep them open if that's better for you)

  • Bring to mind a place that brings you a sense of comfort. (Maybe a current favourite hangout spot or a place from your past – the choice is yours)

  • Let your imagination bring details to you. (Try connecting with your sense of taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound)

  • Allow your mental imagery to become richer and more detailed.

  • Enjoy as many repeats your track as you have time for.

  • Take some time when you are done to gently enter back into your day-to-day activities

Research shows that many benefits come from taking time to relax. In a world that seems increasingly hectic and chaotic, there's never been a better time to treat ourselves to a music-enhanced timeout.

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