Here’s the second blog in my latest series about how to stay calm and stress free by tuning into our senses.  This week it’s hearing.

Check out last week’s blog with super simple ways to reduce stress and anxiety using sight.  And how to build your Mindful First Aid Kit to deal with stress emergencies.

Remember, these techniques vary in complexity and some will appeal more than others.  Use the rules of KISS…


Remember to Keep Things Super Simple (KISS)

  • Find small, simple ways to soothe
  • Choose ones that resonate with you
  • And do them again and again, especially when you’re feeling strong, so you’ll be able to access them easily when there’s a wobble

Using Hearing to Stay Calm and Stress Free

Here’s some of the techniques I love:

1.  A Passion for Podcasts

So this is a biggie for me.  I’m a huge lover of podcasts and you’ll often find me with one blasting away as I work, walk, drive, cook and bathe!  And so many people rave about their benefits for mental health, including me.

They can be funny, calming, informative and a great way to switch focus.  I have loads of favourites and select what I want to listen to each day based on my mood and energy levels.  I love a rambling interview, or a deep dive into a health or psychology podcast.


But my real passion is for humour – light conversations which make me laugh out loud (don’t forget there’s heaps of evidence about the benefits of laughing).

And I can’t mention podcasts without sharing my ultimate podcast love – Elis James and John Robins.  These guys have been my constant companions since 2016 (now on Radio 5 having previously been on Radio X – their podcast back catalogue is still available).  They keep me company with their funny, warm, and intelligent chats, and their Isolation Tapes have been a ray of light through the lockdown.

They’re truly the best friends I’ve never met!

2.  Let the Music Play On

It’s been scientifically shown that when we listen to, play, or sing music, physical changes take place in the brain and other structures of the body.

Just some of the proven benefits of music therapy include:

  • Improving mood, creating calm and reducing impulsivity

  • Helping to treat depression

  • Supporting cardiovascular health

  • Helping to manage pain

  • Enhancing social connection

  • Reducing stress and anxiety

How can you more bring music into your life?

I got lost in a world of podcasts but now make an effort to include more music too.  I find a mellow mix helps me focus when I’m writing.  Oh, and there’s some wonderful Zoom choirs going on right now, with heaps of benefits for mental health. I love Beccy’s Pop Up Choir.

3.  Listen to the Birds

It’s another big tick for nature here.  A recent study found that some bird song offers relief from mental fatigue and stress.  In fact, a study commissioned by the National Trust has shown that gentle woodland sounds such as ­running water, the rustling of branches and birdsong are more effective than meditation apps at inducing relaxation.

Have a listen to what’s around you, or check out some recordings.

BBC Sounds have released some lovely Mindful Soundscapes so you can tap into that calm whenever you want.

Singing bird

“Silence is a source of great strength”

Lao Tzu
4.  The Sound of Silence

Ok, so I’ve listed podcasts, music, birds and other nature – all to access some calm via your sense of hearing.

But one of the most effective things to listen to is – you guessed it – the sound of silence.

It has been shown to have significant physiological and psychological benefits such as lowering blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and lowering blood cortisol levels and adrenaline – the stress “biggies”.

Honing your skills of being ok with silence may also enhance creativity, and increase reflection and self awareness.  All great tools for some coaching!

What do you listen to, to feel better?

Next post with all be about soothing stress and anxiety with our sense of smell…