This Surprising Type of Music Can Calm You Down

What’s your calming playlist? Is it classical, smooth jazz, old school R&B, maybe? If I just described your relaxation repertoire, you might be doing it wrong, according to a new study, which found that listening to heavy metal music actually has calming effects. In related news, my entire life has been a lie.

Researchers at the University of Queensland School of Psychology looked at “extreme metal music and anger processing,” selecting a small group of 39 participants of various ages who listened to heavy metal. Researchers split the subjects into groups, made both groups angry, and then let one group listen to their own metal music while the other group sat in silence. Then, they took various measurements to assess the participants’ emotions afterwards, such as heart rate, and rated them subjectively on the Positive and Negative Affect Scale.

The results are probably going to challenge everything you thought you knew about heavy metal: the group who listened to metal after getting angry were actually calmer than the group who sat there twiddling their thumbs. That’s right — the metal group didn’t fly into a rage and break everything in sight! Researchers said that the music “appeared to match their [the subjects'] physiological arousal and result in an increase of positive emotions.” In other words, the music matched the subjects' mood, which helped them feel better overall.

Researchers also added, “Listening to extreme music may represent a healthy way of processing anger for these listeners.” I think the phrase, “for these listeners” is key; if you genuinely enjoy heavy metal it could help you calm down, but if you don’t like it to begin with, it probably won’t make you feel relaxed.

So the takeaway? Personal preference is key. If heavy metal is your thing, then keep on doin' your thing. If not, your regular playlist will probably help, but who knows? It might not be a bad idea to broaden your musical horizons.

Images: Fotolia; Giphy