Posted February 7, 2020 by Chris in Features

Happiness For Our Brain: Music That Makes Us Relaxed

What can instantly make you happy and peaceful? A cup of coffee, a cozy sofa, a nice chat with a friend? A good song is most probably also on the list for most of us. And did you know that the effect of a simple tune can be the strongest? Music can do a lot of things, and making you feel calm and relaxed is one of them.

How music affects the brain

Musical sounds affect the human brain, that’s a scientific fact. The question is – how exactly. It can increase brain activity or, instead, calm you down. Students often use their favorite tunes a a background for studies – for example, writing essays. If it doesn’t help, there’s an essay writing service. 

Scientists are still trying to figure out how exactly musical sounds work, but a lot is already known about the phenomena. The moment you hear the tune you like, it activates the pleasure centers that release dopamine. As a result, you instantly feel happier. 

Music can also help one to:

  • calm anxiety
  • reduce stress
  • ease pain
  • facilitate rehabilitation

There’s even a branch of evidence-based medicine called music therapy achieve. But if you don’t plan on visiting a professional therapist yet, you still can use the positive effect of musical sounds for the brain in everyday life.

What music can relieve stress?

Stress relief is one of the main goals music is used for. Even if you’re neither a musician nor a scientist, you must have noticed different sounds have various effects on how you feel. Fast swinging tunes in major key makes one dance, slow tracks in minor make you sad of pensive, heavy metal guitar riffs are uplifting, etc.

To have a noticeable calming effect, music should be:

  • slow or mid-tempo
  • quiet
  • acoustic or electronic, without loud distinctive beats
  • not too emotional

Most relaxing music genres

Tastes are different for every person. Some tracks that one can find soothing the other will consider annoying. But there still are some genres and styles that are generally more relaxing than others. 

Here is our own list of the most relaxing music genres:

  1. Ambient

Ambient is, first of all, about the atmosphere and tone. Most of its derivative forms – downtempo, trip-hop, new age, chill-out – can make you totally forget about stress, too. Think of Enigma, Grigorian, Enya… already yawning?

  1. Smooth jazz

This modern jazz style is often called elevator music. Such tunes are background: you don’t have to be an active listener here. Popular smooth jazz artists like Kenny G or Candy Dulfer are masters of their instruments, but the mellow tracks they play is mostly for just being there instead of uncomfortable silence.

  1. Classical and crossover

There is a very popular opinion that the classical genre is the most relaxing. And some of it really is. But it depends. To choose the right classical gems to calm you down is not easy. But there is a safe choice: classical crossover. Josh Groban is an example.

  1. Traditional and Latin jazz

As with classical, you should be careful with traditional jazz. If you plan to use it to reduce stress and lower anxiety, better choose albums with the word “romantic” or “relaxing” in the title.

Solo instrumental albums by guitarists like Joe Pass are always a good choice. Collections like “Romantic jazz ballads” will also do, as will some Latin jazz and, especially, bossa nova – Antonio Carlos Jobim is a key name here.

  1. Country, pop and soul ballads

Take special notice of the word “ballads”. Depending on what your aim is, you can choose more or less emotional songs. To create a nice background choose country, and if you need to be fully engaged, soul ballads will do just fine. There are a lot of those in Mariah Carey and the late Whitney Houston discography.

  1. Soft and art rock

Rock en masse is not very relaxing. But there are some subgenres that can provide you with a lot of tunes for a coffee break. First of all, remember Elton John and his most heart-piercing songs.

There also are Asia, Genesis, Sting, and a bunch of other classic art and progressive rock artists you can turn to.

The least relaxing genre is heavy metal. It’s loud and bombastic, with the “wall of sound” effect that can rather agitate than relax. But, as was mentioned above, tastes differ. For a metal fan, an emotional heavy metal ballad may have a greater soothing effect than anything else.

If you carefully read our recommendations, you’ll most probably find some nice relaxing music with the help of our advice. But the main criteria for choosing the right music for relaxation must be your own unique taste, remember that! You don’t have to listen to what you don’t like. 


I listen to and write about music!