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Can Music Be The Cure To Anxiety When Flying?

iPod For those who have a fear of flying, new research shows music may be your cure. Digital music service Spotify recently commissioned a study that was carried out by anxiety psychologist Dr. Becky Spelman from the Private Therapy Clinic in London. It investigated the type of music that best helps calm the nerves of nervous flyers. What Dr. Spelman found that was that breathing in time to music with a low bpm, at a controlled and reduced pace, is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn reduces anxiety. Moreover, listening to songs that stimulate both sides of the brain while using headphones with your eyes closed can be very relaxing, especially when the music is harmonious and emotive. Explains Dr. Spelman, “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.” To relieve you of having to do any research on your own, the team also came up with the perfect calming travel playlist for anxious fliers. It includes:
  • Someone Like You – Adele
  • Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) – Enya
  • Piano on The Beach – Liborio Conti
  • Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major (“Elvira Madigan”) K. 467 – Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus
  • Better Together – Jack Johnson
  • Pure Shores – All Saints
  • Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley
  • Scar Tissue – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  • Paradise – Coldplay
  • As I Lay Me Down – Sophie B. Hawkins
  • Inside Out – Britney Spears
  • Ignition – R Kelly
  • Flaws and All – Beyoncé
  • The Christmas song – Nat King Cole
  • Space Oddity – David Bowie
What tricks do you use to help keep calm before and during a flight? 

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is an New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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  1. OCDemon on at 5:38 pm

    Humans are so lucky that we can use our iPods as mind control devices. Eventually we’ll have machines track our brains to figure out which song does what to our heads and we’ll just push a button to create a mood and that’ll be that.

  2. jess2716 on at 5:58 pm

    @OCDemon- Yikes! I hope that doesn’t happen ha. Although I can’t say I don’t agree with you. Technology is progressing at an alarmingly fast rate.

  3. Lorie on at 3:53 pm

    Hi Jessie,
    I wandered into your blog today from Her Packing List. In one week, I’ll be taking my very first flight ever (which is a HUGE deal because I turn 50 tomorrow). I know, right? How can someone be 50 years old and have never flown? It’s pretty easy actually – if you’re good at making up excuses.

    I’ve been trying very hard to cut off any negative thoughts about flying. As soon as I catch myself thinking one, I turn it around to its opposite. Instead of saying “I’m really scared”, I’ll say “I’m brave, and this is going to be an adventure!” Might be silly, but that’s how I’m dealing with it.

    Also, a frequent flyer friend wrote a three page letter to me detailing every thing he could think of about flying – from the noises to expect all the way to how to get through security without holding up the line. I’ve printed it out and will carry it along. I think it will help me to feel more secure knowing that I can refer to the printout if I’m not sure what to do next or what that weird sound might have been (before I freak out that some necessary thing fell off the plane).

    The third thing I’ve done is watched a ton of flying videos on YouTube. Some airlines even have made videos specifically for first-time flyers and/or scaredy cats like me. So I sort of feel like I’ve had some really good information and seen how it works – all from my calm, relaxed, peaceful home. I’m hoping that relaxed, peaceful feeling will carryover onto the actual flight.

    Thanks for the playlist! I will definitely add those songs to my iPod today.


    PS. Oh, I almost forgot – I’m going to Hawaii!!!! 🙂

    • jess2716 on at 5:49 pm

      @Lorie- That’s great to hear. Congrats on the trip to Hawaii you’ll love it. Just remember, the likelihood of a plane crash is very small. In fact, you’re more likely to get hurt driving your car. Have fun and be safe 🙂

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