The pandemic had many of us struggling with anxiety and other mental health issues. Here is how music can help you in the future.
The Covid-19 pandemic created rapid change in all of our lives. From changes in travel, learning atmosphere, working conditions, and social skills interactions, many university students have been affected drastically.
This notion caused an increase in negativity, anxiety, and stress. With the advancement of social media throughout the years, social media was used at higher levels during the pandemic to entertain, communicate, and interact with people around the world.
From a musical perspective, social media became heavily filled with people singing, dancing, and other forms of creative artistry throughout the various lockdowns.
For musicians and performers, the lockdowns gave independent artists great opportunities to focus, create and flourish through social media apps such as Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.
These apps were vital at the time, as artists were able to create a wider range of music followers from listeners all over the globe.
However, research has discovered that young people used music listening to boost more effective strategies for coping with the anxieties of Covid-19.
A survey examining 402 first-year Australian University students, researched this idea of combating stress as it examined the effectiveness of music listening during the pandemic compared with other stress management strategies.
The study also asked student participants to propose a song that helped them cope with pandemic stress and to analyse stress-relieving tendencies (melody, rhythm, etc.)
This research concluded that music listening was the most effective stress coping mechanism and almost equivalent to effective levels of sleep, exercise, and locational change.
So how did music play a beneficial factor in relieving Covid-19 stress? The nice thing to consider is that one does not have to be musically efficient to understand the benefits of music.
Aside from playing instruments or singing various vocal material, music listening allows the release of endorphins through one’s system.
When an individual listens to music that they enjoy, such as the sounds of Sylvan Esso or Twenty-One Pilots, the ‘feel good’ chemicals called dopamine are combined with serotonin, happy chemicals that are released in an individual’s brain giving them the sense of pleasure.
This will boost mood and motivation. For example, music with a strong beat will make a person want to jump up and move their body in the form of dance. We see this happen in many entertainment outlets such as television shows, music videos, and social media dance videos!
This is why so many people are prone to listening to music during various exercise routines. Along with the interaction of dopamine and serotonin, oxytocin is a hormone that can be released while singing which can overall relieve one’s anxiety, nerves, or stress.
According to Music Therapist Kim Waterman, studies have concluded that singing can decrease feelings of loneliness and depression.
Another stress coping strategy individuals have developed through the pandemic is meditation.
Meditation, through all of its variations and forms, is a great way to centre one’s spirit and thoughts, while producing a high level of calmness and stress relief.
For meditation, it is highly recommended to use music without lyrics, and preferably with a slow tempo. As music has been proven to reduce respiration rate and lower blood pressure, soft music has additionally been shown to have great benefits toward anxiety and other pandemic-related pressures.
The best music listening tip to implement when feeling stress and anxiety is to listen to faster pace music to match the heart rate and current state.
Listening to this music at a high appropriate volume is recommended. As one listens to one or two songs of this energy, begin to diminish the volume and speed of the song selections to a slower pace as one continues to listen (creating a playlist of this nature is highly recommended).
It is important to listen to music that triggers negative memories or emotions at this time. This may cause stress and anxiety to heighten.
It is hard to believe, that much of the pandemic has caused us to feel more stressed, anxious, and depressed than ever before. In some ways, the pandemic has allowed individuals to stop and breathe, for fast-paced lifestyles needed to be halted for relaxation and clarity.
The pandemic has allowed individuals to reflect on their current and future relationships. Am I benefiting from this connection? What kind of connections do I seek for the future?
Others have been broken down by the pandemic mentally and physically.
The truth of the matter is that the pandemic still trails on in various capacities.
However, through the value of music and music sharing, much of the stress and anxiety created through our current situations can be eased even just for a few hours or even days.
So, the next time you feel overwhelmed or anxious, let the music be your guide to optimal relief.
Stripping life back to basics can be a huge boost to your mental health. Have you ever thought about going minimalist?
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