Music for wellbeing:
The healing power of sound

20 January, 2023
Music for wellbeing: <br>The healing power of sound | News | Pause Awards
George Hedon, founder and CEO, Pause Fest & Awards
George Hedon
20 January, 2023

Music has always been a powerful force in our lives. It can evoke memories, inspire emotions, and even change our physical and mental states.

As a lifelong music enthusiast, I have experienced the healing power of sound firsthand and I want to share my journey and the latest research on how music can positively impact our wellbeing.

I began my musical journey as a radio host in the early 90’s, playing early Ambient and Trance music late into the night. Later on, I took my love for music to the clubs and played a variety of genres such as Techno, Minimal, and Deep House. 

With the rise of streaming platforms like iTunes and Spotify, I’ve continued to create playlists for various moods and activities. During my time running Pause Fest, I curated a specific soundtrack for each year to enhance the festival experience, usually 8-10 hours long and played during breaks at the event. They can still be accessed on Spotify.

However, when Pause Fest collapsed in 2021, I found myself struggling with feelings of loss and darkness. It was then that I turned to music as a source of refuge and positive emotional connection. I wasn’t alone in this experience; many people turn to music in times of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Recent research has shown that music can have a significant impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. A review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open, analysed 26 studies from several countries and concluded that music provides a clinically significant boost to mental health, which can be comparable to the benefits of exercise.

There is no other stimulus on earth that simultaneously engages our brains as widely as music does.

Brian Harris, certified neurologic music therapist at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Music can also boost exercise ability, ease stress and anxiety, and enhance recovery from strokes. According to Brian Harris, a certified neurologic music therapist at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, “There is no other stimulus on earth that simultaneously engages our brains as widely as music does.” Listening to music can also trigger the release of dopamine, a brain chemical that makes people feel engaged and motivated.

There is a lot more to music than just pleasure. Music can alter your brain chemistry, enable you to exercise longer, improve blood vessel function, help heart rate and blood pressure return to normal, ease anxiety and help recover from heart surgery are some of the benefits published by Harvard Medical School.

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the healing properties of music a few times, first in Thailand retreat at the ‘Sound Bath’, and more recently a ‘Sound Healing’ experiment led by my friend Finbar O’Hanlon. I’ve booked Finbar to deliver the first ‘Sound Healing’ as the workshop at Pause Fest 2019, but I missed it, so I’ve jumped at the second opportunity.

Finbar engineered the base sound frequency at 90Hz on his computer, which helps with relaxation, meditation, and sleep. On top of that he played live crystal bowls and a few other soothing sounds. I fell asleep for half of the session and felt so relaxed after it. He has since patented these sounds with his co-founder Ahmet Zappa, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

There are many playlists for wellness, relaxation, sleep, and meditation available online. I’ve also curated a few of my own on Spotify, including ‘Funk it’, ‘Vibing’ and ‘Big Chill’ as well as a specially curated ‘90’s Dance’ playlist for cardio workouts. 

The healing properties of vibrations are definitely something that can uplift your mood and make your everyday brighter. In a yearly wrap Spotify described me as ‘Adventurer – the seeker of sound’. 

I encourage you to explore the healing properties of music and find playlists that enhance your mood, focus, productivity or sleep. If you already have good ones, please send it to us so we can share it with everyone.

If not, these four lists below are a good place to start.

Hot Tip: How to train your Spotify algorithm?
If you listen to a new Spotify playlist for a week it will start sending you alike songs, if you listen longer it will send you the entire recommendation in that genre.

Boost your cardio performance.
Be more alert.
Set a good mood.
Relaxing Summer vibes.

Let Pause Awards tell your story
Entering first-timers
Check 2023 Pause Awards winners
Pause Awards Night: the community of champs
Pause Awards Night
2023 Years Summary page is here
Summary Page

Related posts

See who won in 2023

Read more

Category tracks

The Culture track seeks entries that exemplify the development of an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture, crucial for organisational success and growth. Submissions should illustrate transformative strategies implemented across core business functions, reflecting expertise, leadership, and a clear vision. These strategies should demonstrate a positive impact on the business, its employees, stakeholders, and customers, showcasing how a nurturing culture contributes to overall growth and innovation.

The Excellence track celebrates businesses that have demonstrated remarkable success and impact within their industry, regardless of their size. Entries for this category should illustrate how the business's strategic execution, guided by visionary leadership and exceptional expertise, has significantly influenced the industry. The focus will be on the tangible outcomes of these strategies, highlighting the company's ability to innovate, lead, and leave a lasting impression in its field.

The Good track is focused on recognising companies dedicated to their mission of creating a positive societal impact. Entries should highlight innovative solutions aimed at addressing global challenges such as environmental sustainability, social equity, and community well-being. Successful submissions will demonstrate how their initiatives contribute to significant changes, tackling issues like gender inequality, social imbalance, and injustice, thereby setting a precedent for responsible and impactful business practices.

Awarded to a single entry in a category, Grand Prix is the top accolade in that category. To win the Grand Prix, the entire Judging Board must unanimously agree that the entry deserves the accolade of being the best in that category.

The Growth track is about showcasing how businesses have enhanced productivity and execution to make a significant impact in their market. Entries should highlight innovative strategies that have optimised the customer journey, leading to increased engagement and commercial success. This track is for those who have effectively used their understanding of the market and customer needs to scale their business and achieve notable growth.

The Operators track seeks entries that showcase leadership in fostering innovation within their ecosystems. Ideal submissions will highlight how your initiatives have catalysed the creation of new products or services, bolstered by a culture that uplifts internal teams and the wider community. This track celebrates those who drive progress by empowering voices and forging transformative connections in their industry.


  • Always Evolving New

    Acknowledges a culture of continuous learning and improvement within a company, encourages employee development, and always looks for ways to optimise and innovate operations.

  • Big & Mighty Culture New

    Recognises companies (51-1000 employees) for their exceptional efforts in cultivating a culture that champions innovation.

  • Diverse Co.

    Celebrates workplaces dedicated to fostering innovation through a vibrant tapestry of diverse talents and perspectives.

  • Small & Mighty Culture New

    Applauds small teams of fewer than 50 employees for their remarkable ability to foster innovation and set new benchmarks in their domain.

  • Work Sweet Work

    Acknowledges companies that have achieved extraordinary employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention, creating an exemplary workplace culture.

  • Company of the Year

    Honours an outstanding company that not only showcases exemplary leadership and resilience but also demonstrates a clear, quantifiable impact over the past year.

  • Customer Obsessed New

    Applauds prioritisation, understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of their customers, including feedback, personalised services and ensuring high satisfaction.

  • Defiant Ones

    Recognises firms that lead technological innovation, setting new standards and defining the future of their industries.

  • Hammer

    Celebrates companies that have not only defined success on their own terms but have also concretely demonstrated their triumphs over the past year.

  • I Wish I'd Done That

    Applauds ingenious, simple solutions in niche markets that spark a universal sentiment of admiration.

  • On the Rise

    Celebrates early-stage startups, under 4 years, that have shown remarkable progress and success in their initial years.

  • Prodigy

    Recognises young visionaries under 30 with outstanding talents and achievements, setting them apart in their fields.

  • Singularity

    Highlights AI-driven companies that are pioneering new services or integrating AI to create innovative products.

  • Women in Business

    Celebrates female entrepreneurs and leaders who are forging paths for future generations by creating more equitable opportunities.

  • B-Good

    Recognises businesses that redefine commercial success by positively transforming our economic system for the benefit of all stakeholders.

  • Circular Pioneer

    Celebrates companies at the forefront of circular economy practices, making substantial and sustainable differences.

  • Ethical Leadership New

    Commends companies exemplifying leadership in environmental and social governance, setting standards in corporate responsibility and ethical practices.

  • Going Green

    Acknowledges companies leading large-scale sustainable initiatives, addressing critical areas like clean energy and environmental justice.

  • Collab New

    Honours strategic partnerships and alliances with other businesses to leverage complementary strengths, access new markets, and share resources for synergistic growth and innovation.

  • Design First

    Celebrates companies where design is the heartbeat of innovation, engaging the whole team in crafting groundbreaking products.

  • Going Global New

    Applauds companies that have expanded their reach globally, showcasing exceptional growth and international success.

  • Great Pivot

    Acknowledges companies that adeptly navigate change, leveraging insights to pivot towards delivering outstanding products.

  • Movement

    Recognises unforgettable event experiences that resonate emotionally, drive social change, or achieve viral status.

  • New Model

    Honours businesses revolutionising markets with elegant and disruptive business models.

  • Next Level New

    Applauds companies which had successful strategic acquisition and integration of another entity, staff or an asset that allowed them to further grow and scale their services.

  • Wildfire

    Celebrates companies that have rapidly and significantly impacted their marketplace, online and offline, setting new standards for success.

  • Angel

    Honours visionary angel investors who've significantly contributed to early-stage startups, guiding them toward success.

  • C-Suite

    Recognises exceptional leadership qualities in high-ranking executives, showcasing their management and interpersonal excellence.

  • Creative Maverick New

    Honours unconventional thinkers with exceptional abilities to execute typically unimaginable initiatives, expertly coordinate teams, secure funding or successfully launch multiple ventures.

  • Ecosystem Star

    Celebrates individuals who energise and nurture their communities, fostering engagement and advocacy.

  • Future Builder

    Recognises the determination and resilience of founders who've embarked on the challenging journey of starting their own ventures.

  • Quiet Achiever New

    Applauds the unsung heroes whose behind-the-scenes efforts have led to flawless project executions and exceeded expectations.

  • Splash Down Under New

    Acknowledges international companies making a noteworthy entrance into the Australian market, enriching the local business ecosystem.

  • TopCoder

    Recognises developers for their outstanding technical skills, clean code, and collaborative spirit.

  • Venture Cap

    Salutes venture capital firms with a track record of backing transformative businesses, contributing significantly to Australia's economic growth.

  • Visionary New

    Recognises effective leadership by setting a clear vision, motivating the team, and making strategic decisions that guide their business towards its goals.

Early Entries end on:
00d : 00h : 00m : 00s
Enter now