Story image

Spotify lists Top 10 tracks to calm nervous flyers

29 Nov 13

Recent research from online music streaming service Spotify has revealed that Orinoco Flow by Enya is the perfect tune to listen to for those suffering from a fear of flying, thanks to its Beats Per Minute (BPM) of almost exactly 60.

The study was commissioned by Spotify to investigate the music that best helps calm the nerves of anxious travellers ahead of the busy summer holiday season.

According to the research, carried out by anxiety psychologist Dr Becky Spelman, music composed at a tempo of 60 beats per minute or tracks which stimulate both sides of the brain are incredibly powerful at calming and relaxing the mind and body.

The top ten list, compiled by Dr Spelman, features an interesting mix of songs across various genres including classical and alternative rock, all of which can be used help to reduce the anxiety associated with a fear of flying when listened to before and during a flight.

Following the study, Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) by Enya was the number one song, closely followed by Piano on The Beach by Liborio Conti – a soothing track with a low bpm which also has ability to stimulate both sides of the brain according to Dr Spelman.

“Travel anxiety is caused by irrational thoughts where the threat is exaggerated and inappropriate," Dr Spelman says.

"Music that stimulates both the logical left and emotional right sides of the brain is said to stimulate the limbic system, which processes negative memories and emotions, which in turn helps people think in a more balanced, rational way supressing anxiety.

"Tracks two and seven on the list work using this method of music therapy but must be listened to with headphones to be effective.”

The study – based on Dr Spelman’s extensive work with nervous travellers – shows that music has the ability to strongly affect emotional states in a number of ways.

Another established method to combat travel anxiety is breathing in time to music at a controlled and reduced pace which is why music with a bpm of 60 – or close to 60 – works best. This technique is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Travel anxiety is said to affect about 25% of adults – lack of control, changes in air pressure and turbulence all contribute to nervous feelings and it is not uncommon for those suffering from a fear of flying to avoid flying all together.

“We all have a strong personal and emotional connection to music so it’s no surprise of its power when it comes to anxiety control," adds Shannon Cook, a Spotify trend expert.

"The interesting mix of Dr Spelman’s tracks show that it’s doesn’t have to be one size fits all when it comes to music therapy and it’s an incredibly warming thought that music can help more people enjoy their dream holiday abroad."

Music to Fly To Playlist:

1. Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) – Enya

2. Piano on The Beach - Liborio Conti

3. Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major ("Elvira Madigan") K. 467 - Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus

4. Better Together – Jack Johnson

5. Pure Shores - All Saints

6. Calar Del Sole - Café del Mar Lounge Remake

7. Endless Chimes – Liborio Conti

8. Someone Like You - Adele

9. Paradise - Coldplay

10. As I Lay Me Down - Sophie B. Hawkins