Last month's "love letter" was about big Spring energy and how we can release pent up anxiety. This month, you'll get one easy tip that doesn't require any extra time or effort... it just requires your ears!
I was inspired by a recent trip to Cannon Beach with Maya and Rico. Just listening to the waves is deeply relaxing to me. But what if I can't take a quick beach getaway? I've learned to carefully curate my "background" noise by listening to classical music or nature sounds.
We may intuitively know that listening to music feels soothing. Even Maya tells me when a song is calming for her! But now, research proves that what we listen to affects our brains and mood.
A 2013 study entitled, “The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response” demonstrated that listening to calming music could relieve anxiety, stimulate part of your brain that stores information and aid in memory recall. More recently, a 2021 study showed that hospitalized patients' anxiety levels were reduced when classical music was played. And a 2017 study published in the journal "Nature" found that sounds of nature physically reduces our body's natural "fight-or-flight" response.
One daily habit that I have for stress relief is to leave my headphones at home while walking Rico in our neighborhood, even if I'd rather listen to a captivating audio book or podcast. Sometimes I even have to remind myself and say, "now is your time to listen to the birds." We are fortunate enough to live in a cul-de-sac with a small forest of trees and several ponds. This tiny natural area produces the best relaxation music in town!
The topic of listening is also relevant to me because I'm grieving the loss of my grandma, who died late last year. Grandma Lee and I were very close. Soon after Grandma passed, my mother shared a poignant fact with me. Before my mom retired from nursing to care for Grandma, she got to fulfill her dream of working in hospice. In this setting, Mom learned that hearing is the last sense to go when we are dying (the study). This gives me comfort as I got to share 3 hours with my grandma before she died and during that time, I told her how much I loved her. Now I know that she knew she was greatly loved.
And because I love you, here is a list of links to my favorite things to listen to while I'm charting, cleaning the house, or working on newsletters. You can even layer them!
1. Bird sounds
2. Ocean waves
I hope that this easy hack helps you to stay calm every day, even when life isn't! Thank you for doing this with me!