Waking up to a window view of rain with leafy, green vegetation as a backdrop inspired me to share a piece I wrote two years ago.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, it began to rain with a comfortably cool breeze. I found it to be a welcomed change after several days of hot, humid weather. Upon hearing the raindrops, I was motivated to play music while preparing lunch for myself and my 16-month-old son. I settled on Spanish guitar music and played songs from the albums, The Very Best of Spanish Guitar (various artists), and Spanish Classical Guitar (Vol. I), by Antonio de Lucena. Hearing the sound of a nylon string guitar along with that of rain proved to be a great choice for a damp, sunless summer day. After all, a warm, rainy day can be just as much fun as a sun-filled one.
You may be asking why would I make such an absurd statement about the time of year that offers the opportunity for anyone to be outdoors to enjoy the warm weather, sun-filled blue skies, longer days, jaunts to the beach, walks in the park, amusement parks, and much more. It’s because I consider the sound of rain in the summer to be a relaxing pastime. And I’m not alone.
There are many who find that the sound of raindrops creates a relaxing medium. And this is an experience that has been demonstrated to help people unwind, as many have reported that the sound of water soothes their mind and body. There are many people, for instance, who hear the sound of rain (along with other nature sounds) through an app on their mobile device or sound machine at bedtime, thereby allowing them to fall to sleep with greater ease and to remain in a relaxed state throughout the night.
I would not suggest, however, going by my anecdotal narrative alone. Science also has found that this phenomenon holds merit. According to a 2016 article on the science news website, Live Science, our brains detect natural sounds, such as water, as non-threatening and, as a result, calming. Another article, published in 2017 in the health magazine, Health, reported a study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging (or fMRI) to measure brain activity and found that participants with elevated stress levels at the start of the study were significantly more relaxed after hearing nature sounds. It was noted that “nature sounds were associated with a decrease in the body’s sympathetic response (which causes that ‘fight-or-flight’ feeling) and an increase in parasympathetic response—the one that helps the body relax and function in normal circumstances, and is sometimes referred to as the ‘rest-digest’ response.”
Now that you have an understanding of the relaxing benefits of hearing rain, imagine augmenting the experience with another source of relaxation, namely, music.
There is a good reason why the coexisting sounds of raindrops and music can be quite a fruitful combination for creating a relaxing ambiance. One important reason is that, like nature sounds, the practice of listening to music is noted for its positive impact on the mind and body, including improved mood and stress reduction. For more on this topic, read my blog post on the benefits of listening to music.
So remember that a rainy summer day doesn’t mean settling for an empty experience. Simply find the right song that suits your taste, sit, and enjoy music playing to the sounds of water droplets.
If you are interested in learning about the two music albums mentioned above, click on the titles below:
From the HPB Archives: Originally published on August 23, 2018.
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