Among our planet’s greatest gifts are the sounds it makes. The wind blowing, leaves rustling, birds chirping, water flowing — the music of Mother Earth is beautiful and lulling, relaxing and calming. No wonder there are so many ways to get in touch with nature’s symphony without having to leave your own house. But why is that? What is it about whale calls, waves crashing and rain falling that just hits us right in our heart? Why do they play the chords of our own inner concerto?
More than just a pretty sound
A few years ago, a bunch of scientists and artists got together at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) in England to do a little research. These two worlds don’t always come together well. After all, they don’t communicate the same way, have different priorities, and pursue their craft along their own unique lines. In this case, however, the two collaborated, hypothesizing that there was an actual scientific reason we are soothed by the sounds of nature, relaxed by green environments.
Before I tell you what they discovered, let me set the stage a bit for the “why?” Imagine you discovered these easily accessible sounds, this readily available enjoyment in the form of the Earth around you might actually make you feel better — emotionally, physically, mentally. That these things we hear simply by opening our minds and listening to the world around us are literally healing. Wow, right? I mean…
Well, it does. That’s what the research showed. Studying the effects of sound on brain waves by playing artificial and natural “music” for test subjects while in an MRI, the BSMS scientists and artists were able to see how Earth’s tunes relaxed that "fight or flight" part of our brain while the artificial ones caused stress. The team also measured heart rate and it slowed down for those feeling the most tension when listening to nature and they relaxed. Know what that means?
We are inherently connected to Mother Earth and all she has to offer.
The calming call of the wild
You and I are organic beings. Nature, in whatever form you enjoy most — the mountains, the sea, the desert, the forest — is a part of you, it’s in you. Going to whatever place you find your solace energizes and soothes, comforts and inspires. It takes us away and brings us down to, well, Earth. It makes us feel grounded and at peace.
Me? I like a bit of mountain with some ocean. I can sit and watch the swells rise and fall for hours, listen to the waves crash and the sea rush against the sand. I adore the sound of a snow fall as much as the sight of it, the crackling of ice forming — truly magical. I remember a Kansas snow storm and looking out on my street in the wee hours of the morning to see a world of white, hearing the tree branches bending under the weight of the fresh powder, the moon glistening on the drifts. It was so serene, so perfectly glorious when, suddenly, a family of foxes raced like bandits across the mounds and all was right with the world.
We all have a place that touches us and while we may not always think of it, there are sounds associated with it. Now we know that indulging in the music of the world around us brings us peace, calms us after a stressful day, chills us out. Just knowing you can find release from tension, anxiety, even worry by simply taking a walk in a special place, listening to the natural music that draws you most, brings as much solace as the acts themselves. Whatever your chosen escape, take it. Go on a walk, reacquaint yourself with the sights and sounds of the natural world, and let yourself give over to the holistic relaxation and calm you need. Wherever you are, nature is calling.
And it’s calling you to peace.