What type of music should you listen to while meditating?
Do you like listening to music? How do you feel when you hear music? It can be such a big part of our lives, affecting our mood and sometimes accompanying us while walking, driving, cooking, sleeping, studying, and yes, even while meditating.
As there are different ways to practice meditation, meditating with music on in the background can also be of use for some people. The important part of listening to music while meditating is to make sure that the music isn’t getting in the way of your practice. That’s why music without lyrics and soothing tones may better support you.Sometimes music can also help you concentrate better or it can act as a motivator, nudging you to continue your practice.
Here are some types of music you can listen to while meditating:
Binaural & Monaural Beats
Binaural beats have two different frequencies in each ear, making the brain adapt to differences gradually. Binaural beats are particularly effective when listening with headphones.
Monaural beats on the other hand, have the same frequency sent to both ears, simultaneously. As research suggests, the brain adapts to the frequency of the auditory beats. This auditory stimulation can also help lower anxiety levels and alter moods. So, if you are looking for an extra boost in your meditation practice, you can try playing these sounds in the background of your meditation practice.
Ambient sounds could be the background noises of nature (rainfall, wind, forest, crickets) or even the murmuring sounds of a cafe. The sounds of nature can help you relax and also create an environment in which you can practice with better concentration.
Instrumental music can include guitar, violin, harp, flute, and many more. Soothing instrumentals can create calmness and ground you in the present moment. You can try many different types of instrumental music and see which one works best for you during your practice.
Music to Relieve Stress
We go through different stages of emotions each day and all of our moods actually serve a purpose. We often communicate and understand our reality through our emotions, acting upon the information they tell us in our daily lives. Stress, on the other hand, is a very common emotion that all of us experience during different parts of our lives. Being stuck in traffic, having an approaching exam, work troubles, or other personal matters can all be sources of stress for us.
On the bright side of all this, feeling stress actually serves a function for us. It pushes our system to act differently in our current state to change it. But if stress occurs for long periods of time, it can have detrimental effects on our health and well-being.
Although it may not be quite so easy to get rid of our stressors in life, there are ways in which we can lower their effects. Listening to music can be one of those methods.
Music has positive effects on both our body and mind. When we feel anxious, listening to music has been shown to reduce stress and help to relax us. It aids in decreasing physiological arousal with the reduction in cortisol levels and lowering blood pressure. It can lessen the activation of amygdala, which is the region of the brain responsible for stress-related emotional states.
Music with a slower tempo is often recommended to help ease stress, but you can try out different kinds of music to see what works best for you. Whether that’s the ambient sounds of nature, instrumental, or classical music, the most important aspect is that you actually like and enjoy the music. Therefore, before putting on your headphones and closing your eyes, first try identifying your favorite tones and sounds that help regulate your mood.
Emotional Power of Music
Music has the power to convey emotions. We spend a significant amount of time listening to music and some music can have an incredible effect on us. Do you get chills when you listen to music you like or music that moves you? These are emotional responses to music. Especially if the music we’re listening to is more upbeat, it can affect our mood in a positive way. The reason for that is because music affects the parts of our brain that involve reward and positive emotions. In response, our brain releases the hormone dopamine, immediately shifting our mood.
Music also has a role in self-regulation. We tend to listen to music that matches our current emotional state. Maybe that means we’re listening to sad music, music that makes us want to dance, or music that makes us relax. Listening to music helps to alter our mood and reflects our emotions. Music has this effect on us because it alters the activity in the brain involving emotional processing.