Why Does Music Calm You Down?

Last Updated:

We may earn commissions for purchases made through links on our site. Learn more on our about us page.

Woman listening to music holding headphones with her hands - Why Does Music Calm You Down?

Music can be a profound tool to use to relax and help with mental health. In other words, many people use music to help calm them down. However, even those who tout music’s effects on your mood may still question exactly how it works.

So why does music calm you down? The answer lies in how music and your brain work together. Studies have been done that show that slower music interacts with your brain by stimulating alpha waves.

These waves are what are present when your body is in a relaxed state and are necessary to begin the sleep cycle.

But not only are there scientific explanations, but music also affects your mood spiritually. There are many reasons why music is such a powerful tool when it comes to creating a relaxing atmosphere that allows for peace and calms to reign supreme in your life.


How Does Calming Music Affect the Brain?

To understand how music affects the brain, you first have to understand how your brain interprets sound. The sound travels through the ear canal as vibrations. The inner ear takes those vibrations and translates them into electronic signals.

These electronic signals travel to the cerebral cortex and interact with certain areas of that region of the brain. Each area that these signals are set to define those signals as different things like rhythm, pitch, and tone.

After determining these factors, the sound can be felt as a complete musical experience. Because of the interaction with the brain, different brain waves are created in response.

For slower music, as is often the case with calming music, this effect is the production of alpha waves.

Alpha waves are produced during our body’s process of falling asleep. Along with the production of alpha waves, music has been shown to do the following, which contributes to its calming effect:


  • It reduces heart rate and cortisol
  • It can cause the release of endorphins which make you feel better
  • Distracts us from the physical and emotional triggers that cause stress


What Causes Music To Help You?

There are many reasons that can help you, not only when it comes to your mind but also your body and spirit. Music is one of the most accessible tools that we have available to us when it comes to being more hands-on when it comes to our wellness.

Here are some of the big things that music brings to anyone’s wellness journey:


  • Reducing your heart rate is achieved by the body releasing less cortisol, which, in turn, can calm us.
  • It has also been shown to help increase the brain’s dopamine production. This helps with the reduction of stress and anxiety, which elevates the calming effect.
  • Less of our built-in stressors are active as the music helps reduce them.


What Kind of Music is the Best for Calming Down?

Now that we understand a little more about why music has a calming effect, it’s time to answer the question – does the type of music matter? The truth is the type of music that is relaxing to you is a very personal thing.

There may be those that relax to heavier music and those that like the soothing sounds of Celtic instrumental music. It all depends on what relaxes you.

Even with that being said, though, there have been studies done that show there are types of music that are more calming overall than others. It seems like music with 60 beats per minute or less tends to do the trick more often.

These can be from any genre, but some of the most common are those in traditional music. Things like Celtic instrumentals or Native American music can all be very calming. Ambient noise or natural sounds are also good choices.


Why Are You So Emotionally Connected to Music?

Music seems to connect with us and do a lot more than just calm us. It connects with us on an emotional level for many different reasons.

First, music brings with it memories. Often we associate certain types of music or even songs with moments in our lives, both happy and sad.

So reminiscing is definitely one of the reasons we are emotionally attached to music. Another emotional connection that is formed with music comes from the rhythm itself.

The beat of the music often synchronizes with our bodies and minds and can create reactions in our brains, releasing certain chemicals that create emotional reactions.

The last big connection we emotionally have to music creates the relatability of the music and lyrics itself. Music is a language, and when done properly, that language can relay a wide range of very emotional messages.

As humans, if we relate to these emotions, we tend to connect with the music on a deeper level.


Do Empaths Enjoy Music More?

The effects of music on our overall moods and feelings can be better understood if we look at the effects of music on those who are more attuned to our emotions. Empaths have a heightened experience when it comes to the emotional impact of music on the individual.

There have been many studies done that show that empaths have a heightened experience when it comes to music.

This means that if you are empathetic to others and attuned to their emotions, the intense feelings behind the songs themselves may affect your mood more so than others. This may lead to you simply enjoying music a little more or differently than others.


Final Thoughts on Why Does Music Calm You Down?

Music is a different language and has connected with humanity since the beginning. Whether the rhythm or the lyrics impact our emotions and affect our bodies is personal and sometimes situational.

Many people choose to use music as a method of calming themselves, and it is quite effective. Not only because it activates certain processes in our bodies but because it can soothe our souls and minds as well.