Rock It: Calming music helps minds cool down after devastating events

Posted on November 13, 2013


Rock It: Calming music helps minds cool down after devastating events

(Graphic by Thomas Maxfield/Journal & Courier)

(Graphic by Thomas Maxfield/Journal & Courier)

By Rachael Mattice

Last week, Americans endured a perfect storm of horror and stress as if we witnessed every event with our own eyes. First responders, the family members of those killed and wounded and the journalists that worked around the clock to keep you up to date felt the weight of pain.

After a congestion of chaos inflicted, it builds up an excess of negative brain activity that overflows into your daily tasks. Weeks like that are hard to psychologically filter out and rarely inspire me to listen to any music at all at the end of the day.

I may write about music every week, but my primary duties as a digital producer at the Journal & Courier required me to tediously watch news outlets and social media to keep our readers informed quickly and accurately as details emerged and body counts grew. I was with you for every tweet and tidbit of flood warnings, the Purdue bomb scare, the Texas explosion and Boston Marathon manhunt updates.

The constant scanner traffic filled with sirens and emergency scramble can feel louder than Motorhead’s amplifiers in the photographer pit without earplugs.

Believe it or not, there are days when Slayer, Sepultura, Behemoth and Fugazi sound like total garbage to my ears.

I usually take the healthy route of stress management to regain balance and will workout or do yoga – though occasionally I enjoy whiskey – and often find it difficult to listen to my usual heavy metal playlists for motivation.

Hours of silence can prove to be truly magical and a powerful healing antidote, or maybe that is just the country girl in me. If exhaustion takes over, the pace of the world slows down when I choose more calming music to promote rejuvenation and stability.

Pandora’s free streaming has stations such as yoga and classical radio I often turn to. Not just for stressful circumstances, Spotify also provides beneficial relaxation music mixes for studying, cooking, driving with screaming children in the backseat or even tattooing a tense client. Stereomood is another free online resource that tailors music to your mood.

American composer Steve Skudler creates music mixed with brainwave entrainment, or BWE. BWE is the brain’s electrical response to rhythmic sensory stimulation and can be altered to induce a desired state of consciousness, such as a meditative state.

Skudler uses technology to create 3-D soundscapes, so expensive headphones aren’t needed.

Looking for a travel-friendly option? The iTunes app store provides “Calming Sounds,” “Relaxing Sounds,” “Restful Radio,” and “iPhoria – Nature’s Music,” all free options.

Everyone, including heavy metal enthusiasts, needs a mental and musical cool-down to remain sane and happy.

For those individuals who were directly affected by the wrath of last week, our support is endless during your long journey back to find peace.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached  on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

Posted in: "Rock It" Column