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~SIMPLE STEP: Stress Relieving App: Relax Melodies

By Abby Newman SPT

As a graduate student I spend much...ok most...ok,ok ALL of my time studying and stressing. I'm certain I'm not the only overstressed, under-rested person alive. Between working, running errands, cooking dinner, packing lunches and playing chauffeur; taking time for yourself to eat right and exercise is limited. Stress can do some nasty things to your body. Stress can cause headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, increase blood pressure, fatigue, upset stomach, sleep problems, anxiety, sadness and eating disorders just to name a few. After 7 years of college studies my body and mind are toast! So in this last year I, along with my mother’s encouragement, set out to find something to help me stay focused, lower stress and feel mentally relaxed.

A lot of my classmates have always listened to music on their iPod or computer while studying. Not for me...I tried it, failed miserably. I found myself singing out loud in the library while getting nasty stares from the students next to me. That was the opposite of focused, maybe relaxed but definitely not focused. I remember being a young child and sitting on the counter while my mom cooked. I would fall asleep to the sound of boiling water. That’s when it hit me. I instantly "Youtubed" runnning water. I found a 10 minute track of "sounds of the amazon". I put my headphones in and boom! I got more work done and felt focused like never before. I was hooked on relaxing tunes!

I began to wonder, what good juju was in such tunes that made me relaxed and able study? Combining some of my studies about deep breathing with the relaxing tunes really seemed to lower my stress level. So I searched for a better source, something that would play relaxing sounds longer than 10 minutes and wouldn’t freeze while my browser was loading.

I downloaded the Relaxing Melodies App for my iPod. First and most important (at least for a college student), it's 100% FREE! It has 46 different sounds including: river water, flutes, birds, ocean and thunderstorm just to name a few. It has a lot of really great features. You can click on as many sounds as you want and it mixes them all together to personalize your own relaxing melody. It has an alarm function so you can set it as your morning alarm or to wake you up if you’re going down for a quick power nap. You can also set up a playlist, choose from one of their pre-made combinations or set it to random shuffle. Also, there is an option to watch a peaceful scene while listening. Overall this App is very easy to use, allows for personalization and endless combinations of melodies which can be used along with deep breathing techniques, Yoga or Tai Chi to relax your body and mind!  Check it out in the itunes app store for the Ipod/Ipad.  or the android version here.

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