A dose of nature a day will keep the doctor away. Several scientific studies have shown that nature sounds can significantly decrease anxiety, stress, and pain. Next time you’re bursting from stress or have a roaring headache, try relaxing to the sounds of nature before automatically popping a pill.
In a previous article, I showed you how to bring nature to your desktop. Today, I’ll point out how to get the sounds that will benefit your health and well-being.
Take A Walk Outside
Nature restores mental functioning in the same way that food and water restore bodies.
– Adam Alter, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Psychology at NYU
Surprise! The best way to reduce stress with a soundtrack, is to spend time in actual nature. Whether it’s a park, a real forest, or the ocean, as long as you can listen to nature’s live performance, you will benefit from your body’s physiological response to its natural environment. The studies I found examined time periods from 40 to 90 minutes a day. Best results were observed after 90 minutes and we can only assume what happens therafter. Spare at least an hour and turn your phone off.
Task Rabbit produced a revealing presentation on SlideShare that summarizes other scientifically proven benefits of nature, namely a boost in creativity and productivity. You will crave to take a walk after seeing the photos, too.
Listen To A Nature Sounds Playlist
When you cannot spend time outdoors, replace your regular background music with nature sounds for a few hours a day. The scientific studies all used recorded sounds, so you will get at least the positive results they reported.
YouTube is a great place to start. A simple search for nature sounds will yield thousands of results and months worth of sound material.
If you don’t want to listen to the same sound for hours, but can’t be bothered to compile your own playlist, try playlists from other users.K-MUSICLIFE for example is a netlabel that broadcasts Japanese chillout and environmental music on YouTube. They have compiled their music catalog into various mixes and collections, providing many hours of listening pleasure.
If you are looking for an endless loop of varied nature sounds, this Last.FM radio channel is pretty much perfect. And it’s just one of several channels dedicated to the sounds of nature. Some are more focused on white noise and relaxing sounds, while other channels also feature tunes with crickets, birds and music.
Web-Based Nature Streams
With the sound board from Nature Sounds For Me you can create a personal mix of up to four different sounds from a rich library. You can even save or export a great mix to re-use it later, for example try my Beach Sound Composition mix. The sound mixer is also available on the AppStore as Sleep Sound – Go Mix It [No Longer Available].
Rainy Mood is a classic that cannot be missed in a piece on nature sounds. We have previously featured it in articles about white noise and relaxing sounds. The website offers a playback of the sound of rain and thunder. All you can do is adjust the volume and stop the background video.
The Oakland Museum of California maintains a Library of Natural Sounds. From their collection they have compiled a sound walk across California, which ranges from the coast, towards and over the Sierra Nevada, to the Great Basin. The site requires Flash 4 to run, which you can download here.
Can I Get Nature Sounds On My Android?
Many apps promise to bring nature sounds to your phone, but the apps I tested were infested with ads and contained no more than a few seconds of sound material. This may work as an original ringtone, but it’s not a sound you want to listen to for an hour or more.
How Do You Integrate Nature Sounds In Your Day?
Have you found a great playlist or a killer Android app I missed? What’s your secret to spending hours each day outdoors, while still getting all your work done? If you have a great recipe for getting the best from nature sounds packed into a busy day, let’s hear!
Image Credit: mkhmarketing on Flickr