Streaming music service Spotify recently commissioned psychologist Dr. Rebecca Spelman to create a playlist to calm listener nerves while flying. Spotify notes that Dr. Spellman found that breathing in time to harmonious songs with a low and steady tempo drastically lowers heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn reduces anxiety. A tempo of 60 BPM (beats per minute) was found to be the most soothing. The song closest to 60 BPM…Adele’s Someone Like You at 67 BPM. As per the study:

Travel anxiety is caused by irrational thoughts where the threat is exaggerated and inappropriate. Music that stimulates both the logical left and emotional right sides of the brain is said to stimulate the limbic system, which processes negative memories and emotions, which in turn helps people think in a more balanced, rational way suppressing anxiety.  Piano on The Beach by Liborio Conti works using this method of music therapy but must be listened to with headphones to be effective. Music which is harmonious and emotive is generally regarded as the best at achieving this type of stimulation, which induces Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). This tried and tested method was originally developed for treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is incredibly powerful at calming and relaxing the mind and body.

Perhaps not overly helpful for the road warriors and mileage runners, but this could be quite useful for anxious family members and friends…or perhaps you’ve recently had a scary experience of your own and now have a fear of flying.

See and listen to the full Spotify list here.

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8 comments

Kevin May 19, 2013 - 6:22 pm

Great list, I agree most with Buffalo Soldier. Sit back and relax!

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Julie May 19, 2013 - 6:23 pm

Sending this to my boyfriend who I have to slip an ambien to before our flights.

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Liz May 19, 2013 - 6:24 pm

i wouldnt have thought that some of these would be calming, I’ll have to try them out.

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Nick May 19, 2013 - 6:25 pm

Adele #1 huh, maybe the sadness takes your mind off the fliying for those who are scared

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Mark May 19, 2013 - 6:29 pm

I’m a psychologist too, wish Spotify would have paid me to conduct a study like this

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Pete May 19, 2013 - 6:33 pm

Thanks adam, sent to my parents

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Lil May 19, 2013 - 6:36 pm

R. Kelly Ignition??

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Mile Cards May 19, 2013 - 7:30 pm

On a recent United intl flight, noticed they loaded an album to the audio section that includes a full Rhapsody in Blue rendition.

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