Fight Traffic Stress through Music and Relaxation

By Edison de Mello, MD, PhD

Here is how:

I came to Rio this past December to present my work, visit family and to enjoy the  “Cidade Maravilhosa”, or Marvelous City as Rio is known to most Brazilians.

There’s a lot to love about Rio and its beautiful landscape.

The weather, the beaches, great places to eat…

But there’s one thing that can be a real drag…

O Transito… The traffic.

Crawling along, bumper-to-bumper, watching the minutes on the clock tick… tick… tick away. It can get pretty frustrating — especially if you’re in a hurry.

Maybe you can relate. After all, nobody likes traffic, right?

And unfortunately, traffic is just another thing on a long list of stuff that adds to your daily stress.

(When you think about it, there’s really no shortage of things that can stress you out.)

That’s a big deal because when left unchecked, all that stress can build up, leading to:

  • The increased tension throughout your body, so you just can’t relax
  • Elevated blood pressure — which over time can lead to an increased risk for serious health problems
  • Digestive issues — maybe you feel bloated, or you just don’t “go” regularly
  • Fatigue and exhaustion, even after a nap (or a 3rd cup of coffee)

That’s why it’s so important to find healthy ways to relieve stress whenever you encounter it. But if you’re in the thick of evening traffic, it’s not like you can draw a warm bath or recline in a comfy chair. But you can use the power of music to help bring down your stress levels. In fact, that’s what I do whenever I feel stressed — whether at work or at home. And you should too… here’s why:

  1. Music — especially slow, relaxing music — has been shown to decrease body’s stress hormone, cortisol. 

2. This helps relieve tension in your body and boost your mood.2

3. Research also indicates that relaxing music can also help reduce your heart rate and support healthy blood pressure 3

4. And when you add all of those benefits together with music’s ability to help improve mental clarity, memory, and sleep quality…4,5,6

5. I brought several Akasha Naturals supplements with me to Brazil. The ones I have used the most for dealing with traffic stress were:

You’ll understand why I believe:

Music should be an essential part of your everyday wellness routine.

And if you want to do something that will make enjoying calming music easier, try this:

  1. Make yourself a Stress-free Songs playlist.
  2. First, take out a pen and paper and write down some of your favorite songs — ones that make you feel a sense of calm and happiness.
  3. And once you’re finished compiling the music, you can stream it, save it to your phone or computer, or burn it to a CD!

Now, for me, I really enjoy listening to bossa nova music.

Focusing on the finger-plucked guitar notes, soft drums, and soothing vocals really have a way of revitalizing my mind, body, and spirit.

I’m a huge fan of pioneers like João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, and Gal Costa. 

And I have several playlists I absolutely love listening to.

So, if you’re looking for something jazzy to add to your list, I highly recommend them!

But whatever kind of music you prefer…

Give your playlist a try the next time you’re feeling a little over-whelmed and let me know if you feel a difference.

To a healthy, balanced life,

Edison de Mello, MD, PhD

BIEN – by Akasha Naturals, Brazil

Instagram and Facebook in Portuguese: @DrEdisondeMello

Dr. Edison de Mello is the Founder and Chief Medical Officer at the Akasha Center For Integrative Medicine. You can schedule an appointment with him by calling 310-451-8880 or emailing us at

1 Thoma M, La Marca R, Brönnimann R, Finkel L, Ehlert U, Nater U. The Effect of Music on Human Stress Response. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(8):e70156. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070156

2 Julia Lehrman R. How Music Can Boost Your Mood. World of Psychology. Published 2018. Accessed October 24, 2018.

3 McCraty R, Barrios-Choplin B, Atkinson M, Tomasino D. The effects of different types of music on mood, tension, and mental clarity. Altern Ther Health Med. 2018;4(1)(Jan 1998):75-84. Accessed October 24, 2018.

4. Ibid.

5 Lucas C. Boost Memory and Learning with Music. PBS. Published 2018. Accessed October 24, 2018.

6 Can Music Help You Calm Down and Sleep Better?. Published 2018. Accessed October 24, 2018.