By far 2020 has been one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. With the coronavirus outbreak, forcing us to physically distance ourselves from society, it has taken a serious and heavy toll on our physical and mental well-being. As the months go by and the extensions keep getting renewed, it is not unlikely for people to become fatigued, bored and even get clinically depressed. Not only have people died due to the virus, but there has also been an upsurge in suicidal cases during this dreadful period, across the globe.
After a point, it can get quite exhausting to keep yourself engaged and motivated when you are trapped in your own house for months. With working from home becoming a 24/7 thing, it can further intensify your stress which can adversely affect the immune system, which in turn makes you a little bit more susceptible to contracting the virus.
Being quarantined can not only constrain your daily routine- after a point you can run out of ideas to keep yourself occupied. However, we can still find ways to keep ourselves positive and cheerful instead of being clobbered by the ugly virus! Ready to know how (drum roll please)? You guessed it (although the title gives it away pretty much): listening to music! Vast numbers of studies have proven that there is a positive correlation between music and mental health. Since it is already a proven fact, why not apply it to your quarantine routine?
Listening to music has many important benefits that can uplift you during your quarantine blues. It not only helps with the unapologetic stress, but can also help you with your cognitive functions, and, let’s face it, we do not want our cognitive abilities to fail us with the new work-from-home regime. Studies speculate that listening to music can stimulate the nerve cells in the right half of the cerebral cortex. It also helps in improving learning and memory, although it heavily depends on whether the music played is to your liking. Research shows that people learn better when they listen to music they like compared to neutral tunes.
Listening to music can have various psychological perks that can help us sail easily and positively through this difficult time. Music is a form of free therapy that does not require for you to make any prior appointment! There exists a natural chemical connection between listening to music and happiness. Whether it is BTS or Taylor Swift, listening to your favorite tracks for about 15 minutes can give you a natural high. When we listen to our personal favorites, our brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine that leads to heightened feelings of happiness, euphoria, and excitement.
Putting your headphones on and vibing to your self-made playlist favorably impacts your hormones. Not only does it open the gates to happiness, but also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. Music helps in counteracting the effects of chronic stress , which results in higher chances of overall well-being. This is a highly needed perk in our current living situation.
The lockdown has become a bit too overwhelming for the majority. It has affected our sleep patterns, our working hours, and our overall lifestyle. This can quite evidently affect our mental well-being, causing us to lose our appetite, lose our sleep, suffer from anhedonia, anxiety, lack of concentration, and even feelings of sadness. This unfortunately expedites a part of the population to get diagnosed with clinical depression that often leads to committing suicide. Although in such grim conditions it may not be enough, listening to music can prevent the depression from taking a wrong and deadly turn.
Music has been considered to be a natural antidepressant (goodbye Prozac!) as it helps in releasing norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine in the brain leading to increased feelings of positivity and well-being. This not only helps with curbing the intensity of the depression, but also soothes the body, mind and soul. It calms muscle tension, and helps us to achieve our normal sleep patterns. However, we need to be mindful of the genre of the music we listen to. Depressed individuals will do much better if they listen to relaxing and classical music compared to rock or heavy metal. So, less of AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ and more of Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’!
Psychologists everywhere tell us that it is a healthy practice to express our emotions. In Tolstoy’s famous words, “Music is the shorthand of emotions.” Not only psychologists, but poets and even scientists agree on the undying relationship between music and our mental health. Shakespeare once said, “If music be the food of love, play on.” Music helps us to unwind from our overburdening emotions. It acts as a channel through which we can release our tension, thereby making us feel lighter.
All these conclusive studies have made Music Therapy such a successful and important evidence-based intervention. It has become a beautiful platform to express one’s own feelings and address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs. It is a helping hand to those who find it difficult to express themselves through words. So grab your headphones, and blast your playlist! Bring some harmony to your quarantine period.
Stay safe. Stay positive.
I am a psychology major with an undying thirst for music, movies, books, dancing, and ofcourse binging on Netflix! I am a logophile and have an insatiable hunger for writing. I am also an addict of Parapsychology and Criminal Psychology. I love to travel and am the perfect personified example of the term ‘wanderlust’.
Artist and Visual Storyteller
I am a feminist and an artist with a keen interest in mental health. I have always found peace and the power of expression, in art and music, since a very early age. Empathy is my mantra and goal for life. The rest of me is essentially my love for dogs, swimming and food!
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org