In its study, Mindlab instructed participants to complete challenging puzzles against a time limit in order to induce a level of stress. They were then played 15 ‘relaxation’ music tracks by such varied artists as Enya, Coldplay, Adele and Mozart. During the listening phase, the participants’ heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and brain activity were recorded.
In just eight minutes, Weightless was shown to reduce study participant’s overall anxiety by 65 per cent. Their usual physiological resting rates also dropped by 35 per cent.
The key is the tempo, which starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually decreases to 50 beats per minute. (In classical music terms, this is referred to as “larghetto,” which translates to somewhat slowly.) During the study, listener’s heart rates gradually come to match the beat of the song.
The song was also designed not to have a repeating melody so that the brain does not try to predict what will come next. In addition, it utilises sustained tones, which helps instill a psychological sense of safety.
In an earlier study by the BMS College of Engineering in Malaysia, participants who listened to music that played around 60 beats per minute experienced a dramatic reduction in feelings of stress and an increased sense of physical relaxation.
To get the best results, it’s recommended to listen to the entire track as it typically takes five minutes for your body to synchronise with a rhythm. (This is a process known as ‘entrainment’.)
If you have a spare eight minutes, make it part of your end-of-a-day ritual to de-stress and unwinding. Incidentally, the study was commissioned by shower gel company Radox Spa which has no affiliation with the track’s creator.
[Via Business Insider]