For those who do not know what an ambience is, ambience refers to a sound recording of something that is associated with something. An example being that a rainy medieval town ambience includes sounds you might typically hear when you walk through a medieval town during the rain. Ambience videos are usually found on YouTube, but I am not aware if it is available on other social media platforms.
I started listening to ambiences when I stumbled across it on YouTube, and found the nature sounds and the slightly romanticised life in Medieval and Victorian times, quite relaxing. Every time I got nervous or stressed, especially during revision for exams, I would just go on YouTube and listen to Medieval or Victorian ambiences while studying.
Listening to those types of ambiences to ease my mind made me think about why it relaxes my mind so much. What exactly makes such ambiences appealing to listen to? One can think that the reason why Medieval or Victorian ambiences are so appealing to listen to is because it shows a type of longing to experience something that is already in the past, and cannot be relived. This also gives the impression that the digitisation of the world in that sense has given us the opportunity to get an idea about how it must have felt like to be in the Medieval or Victorian era. Thus, when you feel like you have an idea about how something was like in the past. This in turn, might help you relax or ease your mind as you feel like you are no longer in the dark about how life must have been like in the past.
However, according to Amanda MacMillan in her article titled Why Nature Sounds Help You Relax, According to Science, there is also a scientific explanation about why ambiences in particular nature ambiences are relaxing and help you ease stress or nervousness. The article explains the results about a psychological study conducted to test what effects listening to nature sounds has on the brain, and also reaction time to stress factors. They found that there is an overall increase in the hormone that helps one relax, and a decrease in fight or flight response.
The study also mentions that the participants performed better during tasks that required concentration when listening to ambiences that were familiar to them. So basically, one can say that the ambiences have to be familiar in order for it to have its proper effects. I listen to Medieval or Victorian ambiences and it relaxes me despite obviously not being able to identify with either era via experience. However, the actual sounds in Medieval or Victorian ambiences are familiar, such as rain sounds, horse carriage, and the sounds of a bustling town or city.
They also found out that listening to nature ambiences can also have beneficial effects on your sleep, as they link stress to lack of rest when sleeping. Personally, I love listening to the sound of rain as it helps me relax my mind, and it also boosts my focus when studying, as I forget about my nervousness, at least for a couple hours.
What are your thoughts on the idea about listening to ambiences on YouTube to help you relax? Please leave your comments down below.
Very interesting blog post and also the fact that there is an actual scientific explanation behind the benefits of listening to ambient sounds. I myself enjoy atmospheric music, like low-key techno, indie, and classical music that is not too intense while studying. A slightly different branch of sounds but perhaps it has similar neurological reasons behind it, why I find it so soothing.
Glad to know I’m not the only one who loves these sort of videos! My brain always needs some sort of background noise so these ambiance videos are perfect. Very interesting to read about the studies conducted regarding this theme. Maybe the noises also remind me of when I used to go camping as a kid and somehow my brain linked it to relaxation. Either way, thanks for reminding me to listen to more of these videos haha!