How Sounds Affect Mental Health 

Sounds & music can inspire and entertain, but also can have powerful psychological effects that can improve your health and well-being. Check out some of the benefits and think about incorporating some of these in your everyday life. You might find that you feel more motivated, happy, and relaxed as a result! 

 

They can improve cognitive performance. 

Research suggests that background music or sounds that are played while the listener is primarily focused on another activity can improve performance on cognitive tasks. One study found that playing more upbeat music led to improvements in processing speed, while both upbeat and downbeat music led to benefits in memory. 

So the next time you are working on a task, consider turning on a little music in the background if you are looking for a boost in your mental performance. Consider choosing instrumental tracks rather than those with complex lyrics, which might end up being more distracting.

 
They can reduce stress. 

It has long been suggested that music can help reduce or manage stress. Consider the trend?centred?on meditative music created to soothe the mind and induce relaxation, this trend is backed up by science, with evidence shown of changes in the brain releasing stress-reducing chemicals when listening to soothing sounds!

 

They can help improve your memory. 

Lots of students enjoy listening to music while they study, but is that such a great idea? Some feel like listening to their favourite music as they study improves memory, while others contend that it simply serves as a pleasant distraction. 

Research suggests that it may help. But it depends upon a variety of factors, including the type of music, the listener's enjoyment of that music, and even how musically well-trained the listener may be.

If you tend to find yourself distracted by music, you may be better off learning in silence or with neutral tracks playing in the background. 

 

They can assist in pain management. 

Research has shown that music can be very helpful in the management of pain. One study of fibromyalgia patients found that those who listened to music for just one hour a day experienced a significant reduction in pain compared to those in a control group.

 

Good sounds help you sleep better. 

Insomnia is a serious problem that affects people of all age groups. While there are many approaches to treating this problem, research has demonstrated that listening to relaxing classical music can be a safe, effective, and affordable remedy.

In a study looking at college students, participants listened to classical music, an audiobook, or nothing at all at bedtime for three weeks. Researchers assessed sleep quality both before and after the intervention.

The study found that participants who had listened to music had significantly better sleep quality than those who had listened to the audiobook or received no intervention. 

 

They can improve motivation. 

There is a good reason why you find it easier to exercise while you listen to music. Researchers have found that listening to fast-paced music motivates people to work out harder. 

So if you are trying to stick to a workout routine, consider loading up a playlist filled with fast-paced tunes that will help boost your motivation and enjoyment of your exercise.

 

They can improve your mood. 

Another of the science-backed benefits is that it just might make you happier. In one examination of the reasons why people listen to music and soothing sounds, researchers discovered that these played an important role in changing and lifting mood. Participants rated music's ability to help them achieve a better mood and become more self-aware as two of the most important functions of music.

 

They can help reduce symptoms of depression. 

Researchers have also found that music therapy can be a safe and effective treatment for a variety of disorders, including depression. It is important to note that this would be alongside other treatment. Studies have found that music therapy is a safe, low-risk way to help reduce some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

Podcasts, Music & Soundscape Picks 

Podcasts 

Just One Thing with Michael Mosley 
“If time is tight, what's the one thing that you should be doing to improve your health and wellbeing? Michael Mosley reveals scientifically-proven top tips to change your life.” 
CW: Check each episode description for potential content warnings. 

Our Current Dilemma 
“A podcast that aims to normalise intrusive thinking, smash the stigma surrounding mental health and throw in a few giggles along the way.” 
CW: Complex mental health issues and behaviours, strong language. Check each episode description for potential content warnings. 

Depresh Mode with John Moe 
“Join host John Moe for honest, relatable, and, yes, sometimes funny conversations about mental health. It’s honest talk from people who have been there and know their stuff. No shame, no stigma, and more laughs than you might expect.”  
CW: Check each episode description for potential content warnings.  

 

Music 

BBC Sounds Music Mixes to Help You Focus 

Anime, Trauma and Divorce – an album by Open Mike Eagle 
This rap album goes through issues of depression and anxiety experienced by the artist throughout 2020 and 2021 while handling his divorce and subsequent custody battle during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
CW: strong language, divorce, suicide, depression, anxiety, substance use, custody, rumination, weight gain, racial issues & tension, income, scuba diving. 

BBC Sounds - Health & Wellbeing 
Lots of podcasts, music, soundscapes and a whole section dedicated to health and wellbeing 

 

Soundscapes & ASMR 

BBC Sounds - Mindful Sounds 
“From stress-busting classical to nature soundscapes and flowing water… something for everyone!” 

Radio 1’s Deep Sleepscapes 
Immersive audio experiences from Seven Worlds, One Planet.

Radio 1’s Relaxing ASMR Exploring Different Textures & Sounds 

Fast ASMR 
“I make ASMR videos to help you relax, battle insomnia, sleeping problems, anxiety and other ailments. This is a safe place, everyone is welcome here and everyone is accepted.” FastASMR does a variety of non-triggering ASMR videos in English, Spanish & German. 

Marno ASMR 
“I do my best to make every audio one that will help you sleep easily. Expect a lot of fast tapping, whispering, and all the asmr idiosyncrasies you’ve grown to love. I’m excited to experiment a lot as well.” 

Gibi ASMR 
“You will see a variety of videos from me, from roleplays, to makeup, to cosplay, to original characters! I hope you very much enjoy.”