April 6, 2020

Jazz Music for Anxiety: Relief Through Sound

While much of the world has changed in recent years, the way music can move and inspire us, even in the direst circumstances has not changed at all. We know that music can improve memory and mood, so when times are tough, what should we be listening to? How about some calm jazz music?

Jazz is a cultural phenomenon. What originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans has quickly become one of the most beloved musical genres around the globe. Characterized by complex harmony, syncopated rhythms, and a heavy stress on improvisation, jazz music is truly something special.

Believe it or not, the magic of jazz doesn’t stop there. Soulful jazz music has several potential benefits for your mind and body. We’ll walk you through a few pieces of calm jazz music you should definitely have on your playlist.

Peaceful Jazz Music You Can Unwind To

Music in general can have profound physical and psychological effects on the listener. Studies have found that listening to music can help soothe your nervous system and lower cortisol levels in your body. 

We looked to Spotify to help us curate a playlist of calm jazz music for you that will help soothe your soul.

  • “Some Other Time” by Ralph Moore
  • “Stella by Starlight” by Yusef Lateef
  • “Is it All a Game?” by Curtis Fuller Quintet
  • “All Blues” by Kenny Burrell
  • “Foolish Heart” by Sadao Watanabe
  • “Once in a While” by John Coltrane
  • “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” by Marian McPartland
  • “In a Sentimental Mood” by Dave Burrell
  • “Maiden Voyage” by Art Farmer
  • “In the Wee Small Hours” by Toots Thielemans
  • “Dignified Appearance” by Tommy Flanagan
  • “I Remember Clifford” by Pat Martino
  • “Ruby, My Dear” by The Great Jazz Trio

We understand jazz isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. So, here’s a Spotify playlist of a few other songs that should help you let loose and forget your worries.

  • “Weightless” by Marconi Union
  • “Electra” by Airstream
  • “Mellomaniac” by DJ Shah
  • “Indigo” by Left
  • “Watermark” by Enya
  • “Strawberry Swing” by Coldplay
  • “Please Don’t Go” by Barcelona
  • “Pure Shores” by All Saints
  • “Someone Like You” by Adele
  • “Che Soave Zeffiretto” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

How Does Peaceful Jazz Music Impact Your Brain

While these are just a few of the songs from the Spotify playlist, why is it that this variety of music calms people?

All of these songs do something to people, evoke a feeling, bring out a memory, or allow them to zone out from the rest of the world. This can be from the lyrics portraying a calming message or the instrumentals immersing you into another part of your brain.

But what is the benefit of listening to music, especially soulful jazz music, that calms the nerves?

Stress Reducer

Did you know that music is every bit as effective at relieving anxiety as a massage? Listening to the way the different instruments complement each other can instantly help you feel calmer. 

Oftentimes, we’re stressed out ruminating over the past or the future. But putting on a calm jazz music playlist can bring you back to the here and now. Because jazz cognition is a complex brain function, it distracts you from stressors and grounds you in the present.

Peaceful jazz music also triggers a chemical reaction in the body. According to some research, music reduces cortisol production in the body, meaning it can take the edge off when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It also helps boost the feel-good chemicals in your brain. 

According to scientists, the song “Weightless” by Marconi Union is the most effective song for calming heart rate, respiration, and brain activity. On the jazz front, you can try Miles Davis’s “Blue in Green” to unwind and destress after a long day.

Improves Concentration

Do you ever notice how ambient sound can help you fall asleep? Well, a similar principle holds when it comes to listening to nature sounds or music that is inspired by the sounds of the outdoors. Often, listening to music will help with brain function too, drawing connections to tasks and sound, and even memory.

Studies also show that listening to soulful jazz music can help you study because of its stress-reducing abilities. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is for you to memorize lessons.

Slows Your Heart Rate

You know the song, “Listen To Your Heart,” well, science is telling us we should–it wants more music! 

Not only can peaceful jazz music soothe your nervous system, but it can also relieve anxiety by influencing your biological processes. For example, music has a way of regulating heartbeat and the rhythm which can help slow your heart rate when listening to soothing sounds. The relaxed tempo of jazz music can moderate your body’s functioning and help you decompress.

It Helps with Eating Patterns

We’ve talked about this in the past, but with many of us at home, it’s worth mentioning again. Listening to music while you eat can help you be more mindful of what you put inside your body. The beat of a song may influence how you chew, how much you eat, and how long it takes you to consume it.

Less Depression

There is mounting evidence that depression jeopardizes your overall well-being. It can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, substance abuse, and self-harm tendencies. 

Fortunately, help is at hand. And, it looks like soulful jazz music may be able to help patients manage depressive tendencies. According to a study, people who listened to an hour of jazz music every day for a week had 25% less depression than non-listeners.

Boosts Creativity

Listening to jazz at a moderate level can get your creative juices flowing. Peaceful jazz music relaxes you, allowing your brain to innovate more freely. The idea is that moderate noise levels heighten your brain’s processing faculties, leading to more abstract processing, and in turn higher creativity levels. 

Teaches You to Expect the Unexpected

Jazz is known to thrive on improvisation. It applies strange and eccentric chord structures that defy traditional standards. With jazz, you are trained to expect the unexpected and adapt to musical improvisations with ease.

We know music is a powerful thing. So find your new favorite jam, rock out–or chill out, and enjoy!

Enjoy An Evening of Soulful Jazz Music at the River Street Jazz Cafe

Jazz influences the mind as much as it touches the soul. If you want to pair your listening experience with some delicious dishes, head on over to the River Street Jazz Cafe. We’re your go-to place for some soulful jazz music and delicious food. For more information, feel free to contact us today.