Listening to Adele in the car can help reduce stress a new study has found

Say 'hello' to the new way to relieve that rush-hour stress and frustration.
AdeleGetty Images

There’s something about rush-hour traffic that can really bring on the stress. There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like you’ve been stuck in the same stretch of road for what feels like forever when you’ve got places to be and things to see.

However, with driving-induced stress increasing the chances of cardiovascular complications which then relate to car accidents, it’s about time we found some simple ways to help keep us calm behind the wheel and now, scientists may have found the answer.

Their suggestion? Listen to some Adele.

In a small study conducted by researchers from São Paulo, Brazil in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University in the UK and the University of Parma in Italy, the findings showed that listening to instrumental versions of some of Adele’s chart-toppers helped to reduce drivers’ stress by reducing fluctuations in their heart rate which could, over time, also help them avoid serious health problems in the future.

The aim of the incredibly small pilot study, published in the journal of Complementary Therapies in Medicine, was to help to try and develop strategies to help decrease the number of car accidents while driving in rush hour traffic.

The participants in the pilot study, all women, were tasked with driving for 20 minutes in rush hour traffic in two rounds of tests – one test driven in silence and the second test driving to music – with their heart rates measured throughout the tests.

Not only could reducing driving-related stress make you feel calmer, it can also benefit your overall health in the long-term. (Image: Getty)

As per the Daily Mail, some of the songs in the playlist they listened to included instrumental version of Adele’s hits Hello and Someone Like You, Exile by Enya, an instrumental of Chris Tomlin’s version of Amazing Grace and song called Electra by Airstream.

“We found that cardiac stress in the participants in our experiment was reduced by listening to music while they were driving,” says one of the authors of the study, Professor Vitor Valenti from São Paulo State University.

When people are stressed, their heart rates speed up and can lead to high blood pressure which in turn increases the risk of inflammation or heart attacks in people who already have serious health problems.

According to the researchers “stress while driving is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac complications such as heart attack.”

“Listening to music attenuated the moderate stress overload the volunteers’ experiences as they drove,” adds Professor Valenti.

“Listening to music could be a preventive measure in favour of cardiovascular health in situations of intense stress such as driving during rush hour.”

Just as you’d listen to fast-paced music to get you pumped during a workout, for the opposite effect listen to the calming sounds of Adele and Enya. (Image: Getty)

While this study in particular was incredibly small – it had just five participants – it follows a previous study conducted by Professor Valenti, which found that people with “well-controlled hypertension” who had been taking antihypertensive medication for an extended amount of time, saw a significant decrease in blood pressure when listening to music, enhancing the effects of their medication.

It also follows a growing body of research confirming the mood-changing effects music can have on us, which if you listen to music regularly, you’ll probably be able to attest to.

So, just like you might listen to fast-paced, energetic music to get you pumped and motivated when you’re exercising, for the opposite effect, listen to slower tunes to help slow down your heart rate.

So, next time you find yourself sitting in traffic and feeling your frustration and stress levels rising, flick on some Adele – it may just be the chill pill you need to get you back to calm.

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