Taking the time to practice self-care is slowly becoming a necessity for those leading hectic lives. However, not everyone has the luxury for some of the more popular forms of self-care such as a quick getaway, an hour-long yoga session or a rejuvenating massage therapy. For those who can’t simply get away from it all, why not consider turning to the lush sounds of music or soothing voices as one of the easiest forms of attaining much-needed peace of mind. Here are some of the best ways to tune out the unnecessary noise in life.
Time to go au naturale
Listening to the sound of nature can have a positive effect on the mind. According to a study on ScienceDaily, the soothing sound of wind gushing among the trees or rustling leaves can have a significant calming effect on the mind and body. In one experiment, individuals with a certain level of stress achieved relaxation when listening to nature or natural sounds. The study on the impact of nature sounds on the human minds will be explored further in the realm physical and mental health. Researchers also indicated that the study will help to influence public health and town planning in the future.
There are plenty of online resources that allow individuals to take advantage of the sound of nature to achieve some much-needed relaxation during any time of the day. Noisli is a website that has a selection of high-quality nature sounds, from Forest to Thunderstorm and even Seaside. Users can download the website as an extension on the Google Chrome browser, or take it with them as an app on the mobile device.
Other apps with similar features to consider include Nature Sounds on the Google Play Store or the highly-rated Relax Melodies: Sleep Sound for those using iOS devices. On music streaming sites like Spotify, a quick search for “Nature Sounds” will yield results like this playlist with more than 50 different sounds, like “Birds and Breeze”, “Wave Foam” and “Sound Of Trees”. Simply put on your favourite pair of headphones, keep your eyes closed and get lost in the wondrous soundscape of nature.
Time to let the voices take over
Perhaps, some people need to hear the voices of others to be able to relax. Yet, not all voices are created equal. Some need the voices of more famous personalities to inspire wellness. Just check out nature television presenter Sir David Attenborough, who was voted as Britain’s most trusted celebrity in 2018. There is magic in the way he speaks calmly. It’s soothing, grandfatherly and firm at the same time. On Spotify, there is an album called My Field Recordings From Across the Planet by Attenborough. For users who need a dose of Attenborough’s golden voice to relax, this is one of the best options out there as he takes listeners on a journey around the world to explore different kinds of music. In some tracks, users can hear his voice as he expresses brief feelings and thoughts about the music. Most importantly, he says listening to the recordings helps to take him back to where the journey was. Another option is to listen to this audio recording of Attenborough reading a chapter from his book Life On Earth. The gorgeous hour-long recording is set against a backdrop of nature sounds and tender piano keys - a sound for sore ears indeed.
There is also this video of James Earl Jones reading a children’s storybook called To Be A Drum. Jones, of course, is famous as the voice of Darth Vader and Mufasa from The Lion King. His unmistakable reassuring voice will no doubt have an effect that will make listeners feel more confident about themselves.
Need a female voice? Consider Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet as she reads When A Couch Is More Than A Couch, a heartbreaking true story that was published in the New York Times’ Modern Love section about coping with loss. Winslet has a gentle beautiful voice that may inspire the weary soul to take a deep breath and relax. What about more stories to help the mind wander further away from reality? BBC Earth Podcast brings nature and human experiences to life with the right combination of engaging storytelling by members of the BBC crew and captivating soundscape recorded from the various parts of the world.
Time to feel the music
Music is subjective. Everyone has the right to decide what kind of genre, lyrics and artistes to listen to help them to relax. According to a guide on music as a form of relaxation by the University of Nevada in Reno, USA, a person cannot be forced into listening to some recommended tracks if he/she never had an inclination for it in the first place. Therefore, it’s important for listeners to establish a fondness for the music before taking it on as a form of relaxation.
The good news is that there is an infinite amount of music possibilities to choose from, ranging from The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac, Kanye West, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, BTS and beyond. Still, if someone needs help deciding, perhaps they can opt for Lo-Fi numbers from Ninjoi’s album, Benkyou as well as Sex & Food by Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Does the combination of French music with Scarlett Johansson’s exquisitely deep voice sound like the perfect combination for self-care? Then check out From Gainsbourg To Lulu by Lucien Gainsbourg and breeze through some tranquilising French tunes like “Bonnie & Clyde” (that’s the one with Johansson's voice) as well as “Manon”, featuring English singer/songwriter Marianne Faithfull.
Time to truly hear the best sound quality
The best sounds for self-care can feel like nothing without the best listening devices. KEF Space One wireless headphone has one of the best noise-cancelling technologies that prevent listeners from getting distracted by outside noise, without losing the true essence and details of the sound they want to hear. In the comfort of your own home, immerse yourself in the sounds of self-care by letting it flow through wireless airplay speakers like the KEF LSX. With its advanced acoustic technology, feel the sound come to life, as if you’re right there on a soundstage.
So, the best self-care method is really how a person chooses to listen. With the right audio set up and listening devices, the journey to effective self-healing and inner peace starts with just a simple click on the Play button.
Cover Credit: C.L via SOL