Music Scientifically Proven to Reduce Anxiety & Beyond

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Managing anxiety is a necessity for many people. All sorts of techniques are used from walking dogs to squatting the bodyweight of two small children. Hey, whatever works. Then of course, there’s music. The ease at which music can, quite literally, reverberate within a person is perhaps a reason it is a mainstay in the lives of many.

Where words fail, music speaks. – Hans Christian Andersen

Researchers have found that this song typically reduces anxiety up to 65%. The composition of the song is such that it matches the rhythm of your heartbeat and then slowly reduces it by 10 beats per minute, lulling you in to a trance in the meantime. Other characteristics such as eliminating spoken word, non-repetitiveness and intermittent chimes are all cleverly implemented to produce this relaxing effect. A remarkable and well-conceived piece of music.

The tune is so relaxing that the lead researcher Dr. Lewis-Hodgson even warned “’Weightless’ was so effective, many women became drowsy and I would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous.”


This music will put you asleep – Maybe that’s not such a good thing.

This is the decorum of modern society – an ever-growing movement towards sedating the mind and body. Television, gadgets, movies, modern psychiatry, mindfulness, all contribute to this. They are designed to put you asleep. Go to the latest blockbuster action movie. Sure, it will guarantee some pretty scintillating masturbation for the eyes but will anything new be written? When I say this, I don’t mean in the script either.

Alcohol & anti-depressants

Anti-depressants effect the brain in the same way as alcohol. Source1 Source2

These fragile moments are the fissures that disperse throughout your own personal stage-play, gluing the whole thing together. A great Theban epic, and let me tell you – the lead character has heard and seen a lot.

Take anti-depressants. When you pop one down your neck do you ever truly investigate the cause of your distress? Do you stop to interrogate that time you were a kid and you were ridiculed in front of your peers by that tyrant teacher? Or the time death wrought havoc in your home? These fragile moments are the fissures that disperse throughout your own personal stage-play, gluing the whole thing together. A great Theban epic, and let me tell you – the lead character has heard and seen a lot. This is not even to mention the director’s cut which includes an entire vault of largely forgotten but carefully stored material.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for lulling the mind in to relaxation. The problem emerges when this becomes the modus operandi for daily living.

This is a problem precisely because anxiety is unmistakably linked to desire and let me tell you, desire is not something to be put to sleep. Any attempt at doing so, particularly via altering the body-state, will ultimately result in more anxiety down the road.

Where words fail, music speaks. – Hans Christian Andersen

We return again to the same point, but perhaps in a new way. There is great wisdom in this proverb. Yes, music (& art) can have a profound affect. Not the type we gawp at blankly but instead I am speaking about music that writes something new, the type that gazes back at you and stirs a question. The sort that forgoes language but only to return by sparking a desire to speak of this apparently unspeakable canvas. Something shifts. Something is written. This is the place that something entirely new is borne, a reinvention in the place of what is initially beyond us. Caution is advised on the usage of tools that like the pied piper lead us silently to our peril.

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Colin McDonnell is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with over ten years experience working in different health and social settings. Currently he works as a psychoanalyst and Clinic Director at Psychotherapy Dublin. As an accredited psychoanalytic psychotherapist he is a member of APPI, ICP, PSI and PPS. He also holds masters degrees in both psychoanalytic psychotherapy and addiction studies.