Up to 40% of people feel some form of anxiety when it comes to flying, with sweaty palms, a racing heartbeat, and shortness of breath all common feelings when waiting to get on a plane, or when you’re up in the air.
But it’s not just anxiety that people can experience when travelling: in fact, there are a range of common emotions, and one way to try and combat these is through music.
We decided to analyse some of these different emotions, so we teamed up with wellness expert, Nichola Henderson, to find out the best BPMs to ease these feelings. We then looked at the most popular songs people actually listen to, to help them cope with these emotions, and compared the two.
Once we gathered this data, we then collated a list of the best nature sounds to listen to, when flying. So, read on to find out all of these results…
Which BPMs are the best for which emotion?
We then spoke holistic life coach, Nichola Henderson, to find out more about how sound affects our emotions, and to see which sounds help to ease these common feelings that are often experienced when travelling.
The human brain has been evolved to be sensitive to sound, and even when we’re resting, we’re always listening. Our brain is biologically programmed to keep us safe, but we also subconsciously link sounds to past experiences, which means that music can comfort us.
Not only that, but music can also help us to connect to how we’re feeling, which is why it can help to guide us through an emotional state. Listening to rhythmic sounds and focusing on the beat can help you to release energy.
Think of life as a jigsaw puzzle: it’s full of pieces we’re trying to fit together as best we can, and the biggest cause of stress can be thinking about how to make these pieces fit. Listening to anything rhythmic can help to relieve stress, especially music with no lyrics, as it means the brain has less to interpret. 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronise with the beat, inducing the brain into alpha brainwaves, which is perfect for relaxation.
Feelings of anxiety occur when the brain is future pacing. It’s jumping into the future and sometimes catastrophising on what could happen. For many people, this can be an everyday occurrence, with the root of most forms of anxiety an urge to protect yourself, thinking if you’re prepared, then you’ll be ready for whatever life throws at you. Listening to the same type of music as you would when you’re stressed (60 BPM), can help to relax your body, and leave your mind in a state of calm.
Neurological researchers have found that listening to music lights up the limbic part of the brain, which processes emotions. The amygdala can then signal the release of several neurochemicals that play a role in brain function and mental health, such as dopamine, the reward and pleasure hormone. If you want to feel joy, then listen to high energy, high vibrational music – think BPMs ranging between 90-140, depending on your personal preference.
Sound can give the brain something to focus on, something other than the thoughts whirling around in our minds. The sound can create a masking effect which is soothing and forms a pattern, which can be a calming effect. Rainfall is a wonderful natural sound to help aid sleep, as well as a gentle wind or waterfall, as they all have a natural hum. To get to sleep, pick music with no lyrics, at a BPM of 60-80 – avoid anything upbeat, fast, or high-pitched.
What BPMs do we actually listen to when we feel these emotions?
If you’re a nervous flyer, you might want to relieve your stress and anxiety, so listening to motivational music could help to overcome that fear. Alternatively, if you’ve had an early start, or you’re on a long-haul flight, you might want to listen to music to help you get to sleep; or you might just feel really happy about going on holiday, and want to listen to something that reflects that.
Whichever one of these emotions you’re feeling, according to PlaylistMiner.com, these are the average BPMs people listen to, when they’re feeling a certain way.
|Search||Avg. BPM Across Top 20 Songs|
So, if we consider Nichola’s advice, what we can see is that actually, the music people tend to listen to when they’re feeling stressed or anxious, might not be helping them as much as they think, with BPMs higher than recommended.
Why is travel good for our mental wellbeing?
Travelling can produce a cocktail of new, exciting experiences, and it can also be a well-earned pause from the demands of daily life. Whether you prefer a dynamic, energetic holiday, or a slow paced, relaxing one, travelling takes you out of your daily routine, places you in brand new environments, stimulates the senses, and awakens a focus back on yourself.
As humans, we need growth and stimulation to live full, complete lives, and travelling is a wonderful way to get intoxicated with this feeling.
The top nature sounds to soothe your stress and anxiety
Whilst holidays can help us to feel invigorated and excited, the act of travelling can feel overwhelming, so if you want to get out of your comfort zone and experience new cultures, but you’re anxious or scared of flying, then listening to nature sounds could help you.
As Nichola mentioned, nature sounds can help to calm your nerves, and by analysing the top songs from ‘calming nature sounds’ playlists on PlaylistMiner, the sound of a lake or running water has come in top place, with it featuring 16 times in the top 50 sounds. This is followed by rain and beach sounds, which both had 12 mentions, in addition to forest and bird sounds, then waterfalls and crickets.
|Type of Sound||# of Sounds in Top 50||Average BPM|
The ultimate playlist to ease nerves when travelling
For stress specifically, it seems water-based sounds can be the most soothing, so if you’re a nervous flyer and want to find a way to help calm your nerves when you’re up in the air, why not give these songs a listen to?
|#||TITLE||ARTIST||No. of ‘Water Sounds’ Playlists They’ve Appeared In|
|1||Sleep Music, Water Sounds, Relaxing Music, Meditation Music||Comforting Sounds||46|
|2||Natural River Sounds||The Slumbering One||36|
|3||Relaxing Music with Nature Sound, Forest Music, Water Dropping Sounds, Sleep Music, Meditation Music||The Mindset Meditation Podcast||35|
|4||Bamboo water fountain- very pleasant to hear – being lone with self||MEDITATION SELF||28|
|5||Boiling Water||Chakra Balancing Sound Therapy||25|
|6||Boiling Water on a Gas Stove||Christina ASMR||20|
|7||Green Noise with Motion||White Noise Maker||19|
|8||On the Front Porch||Nature Sounds Unplugged||18|
|9||Soothing Relaxation||Peder B. Helland||17|
|10||Babbling Brook||Rivers and Streams||16|
|11||Quiet Water Sounds||The Slumbering One||16|
|12||Small Creek, Pt. 1||Soft Soundscapes||16|
|13||Water Sounds for Deep Sleep||Sound Sleeping||16|
|14||Simply Green Noise||White Noise Maker||16|
|15||Pouring Rush||Nature Sounds Unplugged||16|
|16||Soothing City||Nature Sounds Unplugged||16|
|17||Panning Narrow Low Green Noise||White Noise Maker||16|
|18||Narrow Low Green Noise||White Noise Maker||16|
|19||Panning Narrow High Green Noise||White Noise Maker||16|
|20||Narrow High Green Noise||White Noise Maker||16|
With travelling having so many benefits, try not to let your anxiety towards flying let you get the better of you. Whilst listening to music can be one way to help you feel calmer, another thing you can try is forward planning, as you’ll feel more in control. That means having all of your booking confirmations to hand, and having both your airport parking, and transfers at the other end sorted, as well as having some travel money on you, so you don’t have to worry about exchanging anything when you get there.
That’s where we can help you. We can help you to compare prices across airport car parks across the UK, as well as finding you a great airport lounge deal, so you can travel in style, and enjoy your holiday to the max.
We used PlaylistMiner.com to find the top songs on playlists made for the following:
- Stress relief
- Anxiety relief
- Motivation OR Motivational (to help overcome ‘fear’)
- Happy OR Happy Songs
- Sleep OR Sleeping
We then took the top 20 songs from each compiled playlist, looked at their BPMs to create an average.
We then used the same method to analyse calming nature sounds playlists, looking at the top 50 songs. We categorised them into the types of sounds they are and found their BPMs to work out an average.