It has been quite some time since we have had a good, soaking rain. The most recent official drought monitor has us in the abnormally dry category and it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting rain anytime soon.
So there you have it. It’s dry and we need rain. But there’s another reason we need rain and it has to do with our mind.
The sound of rain can have a calming effect and ease anxiety. Falling rain creates a sound sleep researchers and psychologists call ‘pink noise’.
It’s a sort of natural sedative to the active mind that helps block out other sensory input like sirens, trains and anything else that might keep the mind from settling.
You may have heard of someone using a ‘white noise machine’ or maybe a fan to help them fall asleep.
What they’re doing is recreating the soothing effect the sound of rain can have.
Pink noise is even more soothing because of its mixture of high and low frequencies. A good night’s sleep can go a long way in lowering anxiety and stress.
Studies have shown that the sound of rain is in the range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, reducing brain wave complexity.
It’s no coincidence that many mediation and relaxation techniques use the sound of rain as a gateway to a calm mind.
Rain often has a soft rhythm and steady cadence.
The mind doesn’t have to deal with or even anticipate sharp changes.
All it has to do is listen and drift.
When water molecules crash together, as they do in falling rain, they create negative ions. Some researchers believe when these negative ions are inhaled, they create a chemical reaction that can reduce stress and anxiety.
More study needs to be done, but it may help explain why being near an ocean is relaxing.
Finally, rain often creates smells. Fragrances in the air.
The part of the brain that processes smell is closely linked to emotion and memory. So it makes sense that the small of rain can invoke pleasant memories and relaxation.
So, yes, we need rain! Not only for the land, but also for that precious property between our ears. That’s the psychology of rain.