New study reveals how music helped the UK cope with the lockdown
The UK has gone through a long string of tedious lockdowns – and those who think that music is the only thing that made them a bit more bearable are not alone. The British Phonographic Society (BPI) has recently revealed the findings of a new study and discussed in deeper detail the role that music had in keeping spirits up in the past year.
According to the study, ever since the pandemic began in March 2020, 28% of people listened to more music while staying at home in self-isolation compared to pre-pandemic times and 94% of participants said that music helped them feel better. The past year hasn’t exactly been easy on mental health and various associations have already discussed how the pandemic has increased stress, anxiety and depression rates but, fortunately, music was there to pick people up. According to the BPI study, 91% of participants listened to music as a form of escapism to distract themselves from the stress of the pandemic. What’s more, music turned out to be a versatile tool during the pandemic, with 50% of respondents saying that they listened to it to improve their mood and 42% that they listened to it to relax and sleep better.
Other interesting findings of this study include:
- 40% of participant said that music helped them fight boredom
- 27% used music to boost their concentration while studying or working from home
- Music was key in coping with pandemic-induced anxiety.
- 81% of participants said that they felt more motivated after listening to music
- 71% of participants said that music helped them stick to their training routin
Why does music have such a positive effect on well-being?
When in a good mood, music helps that mood feel even better. For those who are down, it soothes. It seems that music is the magical cure to almost everything and scientists say that these benefits come down to our brain chemistry.
Studies have shown that music regulates the activity of the hormone responsible for stress response so that when people are tense and worried, it helps them to recover faster. What’s more, music also influences the area of the brain that controls pain, so music might even play a major role in pain management. During the pandemic, music also united us every and it’s not the first time in history that music has acted as a means for communities to stick together. Although during times of crisis, the entertainment industry suffers the most, music has played an important role during wars and other critical times by helping listeners maintain their identity and cope with traumatic events.
Music to get funk back – from Beethoven to Dua Lipa
So, what kind of music should be listened to for those who want to pick yourself up in these challenging times? There really isn’t a right or wrong answer, scientists explain. Ultimately, listen to whatever genre of music that feels comfortable and that brings back positive memories. If that genre is heavy metal, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Lookingat the charts, it seems that the artists that helped Brits most during the lockdown were Dua Lipa, whose Future Nostalgia was the most streamed album of 2020, and The Weekend Blinding Lights was the longest-running running hit song. It also seems like the pandemic reignited the Brits’ love for classic records because the most sold albums on vinyl and cassette were Kylie Minogue’s Disco and Lady Gaga’s Chromatica.
Not inspired by this list? Here’s what else to listen to:
- Soothing nature sounds. Although they aren’t exactly music, sounds such as the sound of rain, thunder, birds chirping or wind whistling through the leaves can help listeners relax and fall asleep faster. And after one year of being stuck indoors, listening to the sound of the ocean definitely hits differently.
- Meditation music. According to the experts at Melody Loops, meditation music is neutral, helping the mind stay in one place when all the stimuli outside try to make it wander off. Listening to meditation music also lifts moods, lowers the risk of depression and strengthens memory.
- Classical music. Although most people haven’t listened to the classics since high school, studies have shown that it has many benefits for mental health: reducing stress, boosting memory and focus and improving sleep.
- Video game music. There’s no need need to be a gamer to enjoy video game music. That’s because video game music was composed specifically to help the player immerse themselves in the world of the game and stay focused on in-game tasks. Listening to the original score outside the game will help the mind stay sharper, so those having trouble focusing on those spreadsheets while working from home, OSTs like Skyrim’s will help.
- Recordings of live concerts. Unfortunately, it’s unknown when people will be able to attend concerts or festivals but, in the meantime, watching recordings of live concerts, especially concerts with orchestra, is a great way to lift moods. Now may even be a good time to finally look back at those old recordings on phones!
Want to amplify the effects of music? Work out to it.
Listening to music is awesome enough on its own but, those who really want to make the most out of it might also want to listen to it while working out. In the past year, Brits have been spending a lot of time indoors and if there’s one universally accepted way of using that one hour of outdoor time, that will be for going for a walk or a jog. If that’s not possible, listen to upbeat tunes in the living room while doing Pilates. Apart from lifting moods, music also makes workout routines less boring and motivates listener’s to push their limits.
So, don’t feel guilty if all that felt right during lockdown was stay in inside and listen to music. Science actually supports it.
The editorial unit