Mental Health 4 MIN READ

The Science Behind Nature Soundscapes

Ever taken a walk through nature and felt instantly better? That calm, tranquil feel, accompanied by the melodies of nature, such as the leaves softly rustling with the wind, birds crooning their songs,

Written by Sunita Sylvia

Oct 14, 2022
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*Press play and enjoy the Sri Lankan Bird Song at Dawn while you understand the science behind nature soundscapes*

Ever taken a walk through nature and felt instantly better? That calm, tranquil feel, accompanied by the melodies of nature, such as the leaves softly rustling with the wind, birds crooning their songs, or the trickling sounds of a gentle stream flowing by. Nature, in all its glory, gives us a sense of clear-headed calm, having a rejuvenating effect on our minds, and restoring our sense of peace. Sounds found in nature have invoked strong reactions in human beings since the dawn of mankind. They inspire poetry and music and also act as a powerful muse. They help us connect to nature in a deeper sense, and offer a more immersive experience. Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School found that listening to sounds of nature affects our “fight or flight response” which helps us relax better, as they can have a soothing and familiar soundscape to them, thereby relaxing us. Additionally, they also reduce our heart rate and alter connections in our brain. Hence, natural soundscapes also prove to be an extremely helpful aid for meditation purposes. 

We live in a day and age where there is a constant barrage of noise pollution, owing to man-made causes. Noise pollution has negative impacts on human beings. It is a constant source of stress, affecting our blood pressure, peace of mind, and ability to concentrate. Researchers at Colorado State University, while studying the adverse effects of noise pollution, began to consider the opposite scenario. What if the opposite of noise pollution, i.e, calming, natural sounds, have a positive effect on humans, and our well-being? Thus, the researchers set about studying the statistical analysis of various past studies, exploring the health benefits of individuals, who have been exposed to natural sounds, on a periodical basis. Subsequently, the research proved that listening to natural sounds can improve cognitive performance, reduce stress, and may also alleviate pain. Natural sounds also had an impact on our feelings and emotions of anger, tranquillity, annoyance, relaxation and anxiety. 

Science Behind Nature

Another study conducted by the National Library of Medicine found that ICU patients on ventilator support while listening to natural soundscapes via headphones, reported less pain. 

Thus, the usage of natural soundscapes has proven to be highly beneficial. Natural soundscapes are a digital collection of sounds from biological sources, utilised to procure the benefits of listening to the natural music of nature. In our digital age, there are numerous apps with specific categories of natural sounds, such as ocean sounds, rainforest sounds, etc, each providing a unique soundscape to accompany our mood and sway us with a natural sense of rhythm, in turn, enabling better mood, reducing stress and alleviating pain. also, blood sugar affects mood

The researchers from Colorado State University also analysed the kind of natural sounds to be used, for maximum benefits. After subsequent analysis, they concluded that bird songs and natural water sounds are the most effective. Bird songs proved most helpful in alleviating pain and stress, whereas water sounds provided moments of tranquillity and clarity of mind.

The Nature Soundscapes

If you are ever tossing and turning about in bed, waiting to fall asleep, nature soundscapes can prove to be the perfect remedy! In a study conducted by the University of Sussex, researchers proved that listening to natural sounds helps the body to turn down the fight or flight response, which in turn, results in better bodily relaxation, and also reduces our reaction towards stress indicators, thereby gently easing us into sleep. Our brain interprets these sounds as non-threatening, due to their pleasant, constant pitch, and also masks other background noises, which in turn, promotes sleep. Additionally, natural sounds can be used as a tool for meditation too, owing to their relaxation properties. 

For decades, we humans have always turned towards nature to provide us with a sense of calm, relaxation and tranquillity. We seek nature to reset and rejuvenate, to get away from the hustle and bustle of our modern-day lives. While it’s not possible to turn towards nature daily living in a city, we can always incorporate it by creating a unique environment for ourselves, choosing to meditate, away from stress, and setting aside time for ourselves, relaxing to the soothing sounds of nature, as they work their magic on us. So if you’re ever feeling a bit down and need a quick pick me up, or even if you just want to relax, all you have to do is tune in to some soothing natural sounds and drop out! 


  2. https:///article.asp?issn=2322-1488;year=2018;volume=7;issue=1;spage=18;epage=23;aulast=Nasari

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