Listen to This Music to Instantly Reduce Anxiety (Proven Through Science)

Music is a powerful tool for helping deal with anxiety and for calming nerves, particularly as part of a preparation routine for big events like exam and tests, competitions, stage and music performances, etc. In this article, the PerformZen team brake down why elite performers like Lebron James use music to help them consistently perform at their best, looking into the science behind it. Then we provide several recommendations for music that has been specially developed to help with anxiety.

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Music For Anxiety Key Takeaways

Without completely spoiling the rest of this article, here are the most interesting & useful takeways about Music For Anxiety:

  • Peak performers like LeBron James & Tony Robbins use pre-performance routines that involve music in order to lower anxiety and get in the optimal state for their show or game.
  • Performance anxiety is the fear and anxiety associated with having to perform under pressure, and music can be used to control and prime your emotions, making it a great stress management tool.

If you’ve got a big event coming up soon, you’re undoubtedly working hard to prepare for it as best as possible.

Maybe it’s an interview for your dream job, a big musical performance, or an audition for that big role you’ve been waiting for. Or perhaps it’s an important test, or even a first date with a special guy or girl.

Whatever the occasion, you want to bring your A-game. But despite all your preparation, you’re worried that you’d get too nervous, and the jitters would get in the way of your ability to perform at your best.

But what if listening to music could help you calm your nerves before the big moment?

If that sounds too simplistic, consider the fact that some of the best in the world, like Lebron James [1], use music as their pre-game routine to get amped up for their performances.

But how can it help you stay calm before your big moment? That’s what we will cover here.

We’ll discuss why you experience anxiety before big moments, and how music works to help you remain calm. We’ll also include a list of songs that you can play before the interview, audition, or any other occasion where you have to stay calm under pressure.

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Why you experience anxiety before big events

You might be familiar with the jittery before a big exam, speech, audition, or another occasion where you’ve had to deliver under pressure. Maybe your hands were trembling, the voice was shaky, and your heart rate was through the roof.

These are all typical symptoms of something known as performance anxiety, or stage fright.

What is performance anxiety?

Performance anxiety is the fear and anxiety associated with having to perform under pressure, especially if the stakes are high, or perceived to be high.

If you have an important interview or audition coming up, the outcome of your performance could impact your career significantly, at least in the near future.

So, you might experience additional stress and pressure to perform well, which might ultimately result in performance anxiety.

Stress and performance anxiety

When you’re under intense stress, your body often responds by switching to the fight-or-flight mode. Your adrenaline levels spike, which puts extra pressure on your cardiovascular system, which can result in many of the performance anxiety symptoms like high blood pressure, excessive sweating, trembling, and even dizziness [2].

Depending on the intensity of the stress, the symptoms can range from a mild case of the “butterflies” to the point where they’re debilitating.

If you experience significant performance anxiety before big moments, one of the keys to reducing the symptoms is to lower your stress levels before you have to perform.

And that’s where the right type of music can help.

How can music help reduce anxiety?

You already know that music can have an effect on you. It can motivate you to workout harder at the gym, it can put you in a fun mood when you’re out with friends, and it can help you wind down after a long day at work.

Music can affect your emotions in a way that makes it a stress management tool.

Slow and quiet music (like classical or jazz) can benefit you physiologically when you might feel stressed, like before your performance, for example. It can slow down your heart rate and blood pressure, which would have an overall calming effect on you.

The right type of music can almost be like a meditative tool. It can relax your mind and shift your attention away from all the negative thoughts that are at the root of your stress, and melt away your stress.

What the research says about music and anxiety

Brain imaging has shown that music doesn’t only stimulate parts of the brain that process sound, but also the ones associated with emotions.

Mindlab International, a British brand research firm, teamed up with Radox Spa to study the relaxation effects of certain musical tracks, compared to massages [3].

According to their study, Weightless, a track by Marconi Union, induced greater relaxation in participants than a massage.

Mindlab noted that, according to data from a separate study, the track “Weightless” had a greater relaxing effect than a cup of tea or going for a walk.

And if the spa study wasn’t enough evidence, then there’s the University of Pennsylvania study conducted with 157 participants who were about to undergo surgery [4].

The participants were either given a sedative or they were played “Weightless” as they were administered an anesthetic to numb a region of the body.

The song performed almost as well as the sedative in relaxing the patients, and the differences were not statistically significant. However, the patients did suggest that they would have preferred to select their own songs.

These studies provide enough evidence to suggest that music can, in fact, have a significant relaxing effect, even during an extremely stressful situation like pre-surgical anesthetics.

The best songs to reduce stress and anxiety before a performance

Let’s look at some of the best songs to help you calm your nerves before a big event. For best results, try listening to these songs shortly before you have to perform, or walk-in for an interview or exam.

For example, you could listen to them on your commute to the destination, or backstage before you have to walk up to the podium.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many people find that as they get too familiar with a certain song, the results might start to diminish. So, it could be beneficial to rotate different songs on this list.

But you should listen to them all and decide what works best for you.

And if you don’t fancy any of the songs on this list, try to find other songs that help you relax. After all, taste in music is personal, and different songs might have varying effects depending on the individual.

1. Marconi Union – Weightless

This was the song used in the research by Mindlab International, and it had a greater relaxation effect on participants than a massage by a qualified therapist.

Weightless by Marconi Union – Said by some to be the most relaxing song of all time!

2. Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria

Classical music can be more relaxing than some other forms of music. In fact, there is evidence that suggests that listening to Mozart can increase brain wave activity that promotes memory and problem-solving [5].

Canzonetta Sull’aria by Mozart is said to boost brain wave activity!

3. DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chillout Mix)

Slightly more on the upbeat side than the others, but still very relaxing nonetheless.

Mellomaniac Chillout Mix by DJ Shah

4. Deva Premal – Om Namah Shivaya

A deeply relaxing song, similar to what your yoga instructor might play during the savasana after the practice. Might not be the best thing to listen to while you’re driving.

Om Namah Shivaya by Deva Premal

5. Anouar Brahem – Stopover at Djibouti

A fusion between Arab classical and jazz, this track is another relaxing one that can shift your focus away from any negative thoughts.

Stopover at Djibouti performed by Anouar Brahem

PerformZen for an extra cognitive boost

Along with listening to relaxing music, you can take PerformZen if you want to provide your brain with extra support so it can help you stay calm under pressure.

PerformZen is a natural supplement made with ingredients that have been proven to promote calmness as well as better cognitive performance.

It works primarily by boosting GABA levels in your brain. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that inhibits excessive activity in the brain [6], which can have a calming effect on you [7].

But it’s not all about calmness and relaxation. When you have to perform, you also need to be sharp and focused.

For that reason, PerformZen also contains magnesium and vitamin B6, the combination of which has been shown by research to improve mental performance in kids with ADHD [8]. It also contains Theacrine and Ginkgo Biloba, which will provide you with a clean boost in energy.

You get the best of both worlds. PerformZen helps you remain calm, while simultaneously improving your mental focus, so you can crush your exam, interview, or audition.

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Final thoughts on music and anxiety

If you’ve got a big event coming up, whether it’s performing for an audience, a competition, or an important exam, you most likely have a lot riding on the outcome.

There’s no doubt you’re working hard and doing your best to prepare and put yourself in a position to succeed. And although stage fright is a common phenomenon, you don’t have to let anxiety ruin all your preparation and hard work.

Relaxation techniques like listening to music can go a long way in calming your nerves so you can be in a calm and relaxed state when you have to deliver your best performance. And for extra cognitive support to boost mental focus, consider giving PerformZen a try.

Agnit is a performance expert and the lead writer for PerformZen. As an avid health and fitness enthusiast, he is passionate about helping people take control of their health to live happier, more productive lives. Someday, he plans to listen to his own advice and drink less coffee.

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