Use soothing sounds to relax and de-stress.The world can be an incredibly noisy place; to top it off, our own heads generate a ton of inner noise. Sometimes, you just need to turn that noise off.

When it comes to meditation or soothing/relaxing soundtracks, which ones are the best? Which ones will help you de-stress, relax, go within and stop THINKING so much?

Like any music, it’s personal.

Whether a particular sound is relaxing to you or not, is individual preference. It depends on the level of positive emotional associations you make with a sound. For example, I personally don’t feel relaxed when I hear sounds of the ocean (waves washing ashore) because I’m quite frankly terrified of that vast expanse of cold, dark, deep water so hearing waves just makes me anxious. I enjoy standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean and listening from afar, but I wouldn’t want it “in my head” if I were wearing headphones! Listening to crickets, though, that’s something I can do all night long – but you might hate that sound because of some negative emotional association you have with bugs.

The best thing to do is to try a soundtrack and if you like it, use it as a go-to whenever you need to relax or get to sleep.

Here are some popular sounds:

1. White noise: this is a combination of all sound frequencies, and it’s used to mask other sounds. It’s particularly useful in urban areas with high noise pollution. However – some white noise CAN cause auditory nerve damage so keep the volume low and avoid using headphones.

There are many soothing sounds to choose from.2. Soft, gentle music. Slow-paced, mellow music without lyrics, either classical, contemporary, New Age or folk, can have a soothing effect. Just beware of big changes in tempo or volume.

3. Heartbeat. Nothing is more soothing to a baby than the sound of a mother’s heart. Great for adults too :-)

4. Sounds of Nature. Ocean waves, cheeping birds, a babbling brook, rain, crickets, thunderstorms, rainforest sounds, a crackling campfire… there are so many to choose from! Remember your emotional associations though, and keep in mind that water sounds may trigger the need to go to the bathroom.

5. Chimes, singing bowls and temple bells. When the pitch is right (for you) and it’s not too jarring, these can be incredibly soothing.

6. Drums. Drum circles have been used for millennia to induce altered states of consciousness. Choose drumming soundtracks that are low-volume and repetitive (no wild drum solos!).

7. Silence. Sometimes, no noise is the best noise! To help you avoid being disrupted by the mental noise in your head, try turning your eyes slightly inward and upward to your third eye – this quiets the mental chatter. Soak in the silence!

8. Chants. Gregorian chants can be very soothing to listen to, and they are infused with spiritual meaning, making them perfect for those days you need to feel uplifted spiritually.

Most of all, listen to your intuition. Don’t choose a soundtrack just because someone said it was soothing. Listen for yourself, and choose for yourself!