Nature Sounds Improve Emotional State

Need to relax? Well, dig out that hokey Sounds of the Forest CD your aunt gave you for your birthday last year, because guess what? The damn thing works.

A study published in Ecopsychology has found that calm nature sounds, even when played back from a recording, can aid in re-establishing a positive mood after suffering a negative experience. Researchers had 133 participants watch a disturbing three-minute video showing human hand surgery, complete with close-ups and gore. After that, participants listened to one of four types of recording: natural sounds recorded at a US national park, natural sounds with human voices, natural sounds with motorized noise, and a control recording of white noise.

Before, during, and after, researchers took mood measurements, and they found that mood improved the fastest with natural sounds.

At this point, more data is needed. For example, other pleasant sounds, like calming music, might have the same effect. On top of that, it’s assumed that actually going to a natural park would have a stronger mood-improving effect. Until then, pop in the nature sounds CD.

Photo courtesy of flickr


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