For hundreds of years, green environments and natural sounds have been associated with well-being and relaxation. People who suffer from anxiety syndromes are often advised to spend some time in the midst of nature, and listen to the sounds of nature. A new research, as published in the ‘Scientific Reports’ journal, uses behavioral experiments, heart-rate monitors and brain scans to indicate that these effects result from physiological factors. Find out how natural sounds exactly help in alleviating anxiety.
Changes the brain connections
When you hear the rustle of leaves in the wind or listen to the sound of water babbling down streams, you get a sensation of calmness and a clear head free of tension and worries. According to researchers, the restorative impact of nature sounds on our psyche can be explained by science. A new study reveals that nature sounds cause physical changes in the brain connections, and thus reduce the natural fight-or-flight instinct of the body.
Releases happy hormones
Scientific research also suggests that listening to the sounds of nature quietly for some times encourage happy hormones to be released from the body. When you spend time outdoors in natural surroundings, you can get a sense of calm, expanse and freedom. The sound of birds chirping, cascading waterfalls, pitter patter of rain etc can cool your nerves and work wonders on your body, thus releasing good hormones from your body.
Removes worries due to focused attention
With so many things happening in nature and so many varied sounds occupying the mind, the attention is not focused inwards but outwards. You stop ruminating and worrying about things that are specific to yourself, which reduces psychological stress for you. You can get relief from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. Studies have revealed that the response times of participants are slower when they hear artificial sounds in place of natural sounds.
Changes the autonomic nervous system response
Research also exhibits small variations in heart rate, which suggests a shift in the autonomic nervous system response of the body. Natural sounds are also related to a reduction in the sympathetic response or “fight-or-flight” feeling of the body, and a rise in the parasympathetic response that relaxes the body and physical functions in general situations. It is called the “rest-digest” response at times. Studies indicate that those with high levels of stress get the most relaxation benefits when they listen to clips of sounds from nature.
Help you sleep better
As a number of researches show, natural sounds can soothe the mind naturally and transpose you to a more meditative and calmer state. The frequencies of these sounds make you calmer, lower your blood pressure levels, reduce your heart rate and decrease the level of the cortisol stress hormone. This has a very positive effect on the body and can put you to sleep. For many insomniacs, spending more time in the midst of nature has been found to cause enough relaxation to put them to sleep by reducing the level of anxiety.