Research reveals “Someone Like You” by Adele is the perfect song to calm nervous

Research out today from leading music streaming service Spotify reveals that Someone Like You by Adele is the perfect song to listen to for those suffering from a fear of flying, thanks to its tempo of 67 beats per minute and harmonious tones.

The study – carried out by anxiety psychologist Dr Becky Spelman from the Private Therapy Clinic in London – was commissioned by Spotify to investigate the music that best helps calm the nerves of nervous flyers ahead of the busy summer holiday season.

Dr Spelman’s research finds that breathing in time to music with a low bpm at a controlled and reduced pace is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure which in turn reduces anxiety. Another established method is to listen to tracks which stimulate both sides of the brain, while using headphones and with eyes your closed. Music which is harmonious and emotive is generally regarded as the best at achieving this type of stimulation which induces Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR). This tried and tested method was originally developed for treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is incredibly powerful at calming and relaxing the mind and body.

The Spotify playlist, compiled by Dr Spelman, features an interesting mix of songs across various genres including classical and alternative rock, all of which can be used help to reduce the anxiety associated with a fear of flying when listened to before and during a flight. Someone Like You by Adele is very close to the optimum bpm of around 60 – the perfect pace for slowing down breathing associated with fear and anxiety. It is also a soulful and harmonious song, which helps to stimulate both sides of the brain, making it the ultimate song for calming anxious nerves. Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) by Enya also works using a low bpm and Piano on The Beach by Liborio Conti utilises this method alongside the ability to stimulate both sides of the brain. The full list is as follows:

Calming Music To Fly To Playlist:

  • Someone Like You – Adele
  • Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) – Enya
  • Piano on The Beach – Liborio Conti
  • Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major (“Elvira Madigan”) K. 467 – Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus
  • Better Together – Jack Johnson
  • Pure Shores – All Saints
  • Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley
  • Scar Tissue – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  • Paradise – Coldplay
  • As I Lay Me Down – Sophie B. Hawkins
  • Inside Out – Britney Spears
  • Ignition – R Kelly
  • Flaws and All – Beyoncé
  • The Christmas song – Nat King Cole
  • Space Oddity – David Bowie

Dr Spelman comments: “Travel anxiety is caused by irrational thoughts where the threat is exaggerated and inappropriate. Music that stimulates both the logical left and emotional right sides of the brain is said to stimulate the limbic system, which processes negative memories and emotions, which in turn helps people think in a more balanced, rational way supressing anxiety.  Piano on The Beach by Liborio Conti works using this method of music therapy but must be listened to with headphones to be effective.”

The study – based on Dr Spelman’s extensive work with nervous travellers – shows that music has the ability to strongly affect emotional states in a number of ways. Travel anxiety is said to affect about 25% of adults. Lack of control, changes in air pressure and turbulence all contribute to nervous feelings and it is not uncommon for those suffering from a fear of flying to avoid flying all together.

Angela Watts, VP of Communications at Spotify, commented: “We all have a strong personal and emotional connection to music so its power when it comes to anxiety control is no surprise  The interesting mix of Dr Spelman’s tracks shows that it doesn’t have to be one size fits all when it comes to music therapy and it’s comforting that music can help more people enjoy their dream holiday without the fear of the journey at either end.  Listening to Coldplay’s Paradise might actually get you there…”

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