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Zen music is a type of healing music that helps empty the mind, bring attention to the present, and introduce calmness and peace. It derives its name from a Japanese type of Buddhism that focuses on meditation and intuition.
From helping you meditate to reducing your stress, here are the eight benefits of Zen music.
1. It Promotes Deeper Meditation
When you talk about Zen music, meditation won’t be far behind. Meditation is a practice of intentionally bringing your thoughts to the present.
Of course, it’s a lot easier said than done, and it’s not unusual for thoughts to wander, especially for beginners.
In fact, many people end up daydreaming or letting their thoughts overtake the meditation practice. In turn, it sometimes takes a while before they can fully maximize the benefits of meditation.
Zen music helps bring a person more easily into the present so they can enjoy deeper levels of meditation. Zen audio tracks, for example, use sounds that induce the brain’s alpha waves. There are many kinds of beautiful relaxing music, but yoga music or reiki music playlists will be able to set the perfect ambience for meditation so that you can get rid of negative energy and balance your chakra.
Another great kind of Zen music to look for is known as “alpha wave frequencies.” Compared to beta waves, which the brain creates when it’s active or being logical and controlling, alpha waves are of lower frequency and promote more intense relaxation even while you’re still awake.
2. It Improves Your Sleep
Sleep is an essential body function. It helps replenish your energy, promotes healing and recovery, and sharpens your focus.
The problem is when you’re under stressful situations, sleep can be hard to come by. Sleep deprivation can also make you more sensitive to the effects of stress.
You may be able to deal with a lack of sleep and stress with supplements such as Melatonin or GABA. These can help normalize your sleeping patterns by decreasing the activities of the brain.
Another great tool for getting great sleep is via Zen sleep meditation music. A study revealed it encourages good sleep by blocking both external and internal stimuli. Zen meditation music is embedded with delta waves for soothing relaxation that will allow you to fall asleep fast.
It may also stimulate sleep because it impacts the parasympathetic nervous system. This neuronic division of the autonomic nervous system that helps slow down the heart rate, among others. Some relaxing sleep music can also trigger natural melatonin release, which is the hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle. Your body needs to release a consistent amount of melatonin in order to get a good night’s sleep.
Put on some deep sleep music at least 30 minutes before bedtime to help with insomnia and get better rest.
3. Zen Music Can Help Decrease Pain
Music can alleviate emotional pain, but it may also work on physical pain. Both chronic stress and chronic pain can have similar symptoms. A 2014 study showed that certain types of music may help patients suffering from chronic pain like fibromyalgia.
How does Zen music do it? Many speculate that it may stimulate the brain to create natural opioids, which block pain signals, working not unlike morphine (without any medication side effects).
Second, it may divert your attention from the source of pain and into the music itself.
Last, music can stir pleasant or happy memories, which make you less receptive to pain.
4. It Encourages Focus
You can lose focus for many reasons, and sometimes, it’s not even your fault. Thyroid issues, for instance, may lead to brain fog.
Brain fog can be frustrating, and it can increase your levels of stress. Stress, meanwhile, can take away your focus or attention to what’s essential at the moment.
When you’re having a hard time being precise and alert at school or in the workplace, listen to calming music instead.
Zen music such as binaural beats may help improve focus in the following ways:
- It brings your brainwaves to lower frequencies, such as alpha, which are more relaxing.
- Listening to music that mimics the beating of the heart may slow down your breathing and promote calm focus.
- It doesn’t contain any intelligible words that might otherwise divert your attention from the task at hand.
A good playlist or full video (usually 10 hours) of study music or soothing background music can help you focus on any assignment or task, whether for school, work, or a personal project.
5. It Reduces Your Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
When you have symptoms of anxiety and depression, it may be essential to get professional help. Therapists can show you some techniques that can help you cope or treat your condition.
You can also help yourself by listening to Zen music. An instrumental song called “Weightless” was so effective that it reduced anxiety by 65%.
Meanwhile, a 2013 experiment showed that music, especially one with nature-oriented sounds or classical/symphonic sounds, can help people cope with stress better. They can bounce back faster, and music may decrease the production of stress hormones such as cortisol.
6. It Regulates Mood
In fact, researchers believe it’s a form of psychological self-care. When you choose to listen to music, you actually engage in a positive psychological assessment regarding your mood and environment.
As you choose the song you want to listen to, you’re actually processing how you feel and how you want to feel. Music is a tool that allows you to maintain your desired mood/emotions.
It also allows you to bridge the gap between your current mood/emotions and the mood/emotions you’d rather have at the moment. Interestingly, researchers explain this psychological assessment often occurs quickly and with very little conscious effort.
So, go on and try it the next time you want to unwind at the end of a long and tiring day. Welcome that calming mood with peaceful, relaxing music.
7. It Enhances Your Digestion
Do you know your digestive system can also react with stress? For example, you tend to eat more when you’re trying to beat a deadline or lack sleep.
You may also notice how you can experience an upset stomach when you’re trying to multitask or dealing with stressful events in your life.
All these are not coincidences. When you’re under stress, your body goes through a lot of changes:
- It may direct blood flow away from your stomach and the gut to organs relating to fight-or-flight such as the heart.
- There may be changes in the gut bacteria composition, which your negative emotions can trigger.
- Stress can increase the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. It explains why you end up eating more when you are exhausted.
To decrease the effects of stress on your digestion, you can listen to meditation music before you eat. It helps calm your body and avoid binge eating.
It may even promote mindful eating, a type of meditation that makes you more aware of the food you eat. You are more likely to choose healthy meals even when times are stressful.
8. Zen Music Can Assist in Reducing the Effects of Trauma
A person may experience physical or emotional trauma at least once in their lives, and it may be enough to cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It may be acute or chronic, but either way, it can significantly reduce your quality of life. You may practice avoidance, which affects your social connection and other personal choices.
A 2017 study highlighted the role of music therapy in treating PTSD. Zen meditation music can lower the symptoms of anxiety and stress.
It may also activate the areas of the brain that regulate rewards, pleasure, and motivation. Music may foster social relationships and bring about happy memories and images that elicit positive energy and emotions.
Types of Zen Music
There are a number of peaceful music playlists for inner peace and relaxation on Spotify and other streaming services. Here are some of the best types of stress relief music to find your Zen.
- Nature sounds (especially water sounds like ocean waves or rain sounds)
- Instrumental music (cello, harp, flute music, or piano music works best)
- New age music (this is just ambient music for body mind relaxation)
- Spa music
There’s no shame in battling stress and anxiety, and fortunately you have lots of tools at your disposal that can help. Zen music is one of the tools you can use to feel your best.
It helps bring your attention to the here and now. It is a space where everything may not be perfect, but you can still be okay and thrive.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted on July 30, 2019, and has been updated on November 22, 2021 for quality and relevancy.