In the midst of the pandemic and quarantine, you might run out of activities to keep yourself entertained. To add onto this, you are still faced with working and attending school (online or otherwise). Music has been influential since the beginning of civilization, and in the year 2020, it has become as relevant as ever.

Music and Mental Health

Studies have shown that music is able to:

  • Improve Infants’ Sleeping Patterns
  • Decrease Parents’ Stress
  • Decrease anxiety before surgery
  • Soothe emergency room patients

And in addition to these outcomes, music is also able to “impact the psychobiological stress system,” by providing a “faster recovery” to the autonomic nervous system after being presented with stress. In other words, soothing music can help alleviate your feelings of distress and help your body bounce back from feelings of anxiety and stress.

According to music therapists, these are certain steps you should take when creating your therapeutic playlists.

  • Try to use familiar music
  • Use genres that you enjoy
  • Consider instrumentals and music without lyrics (some lyrics can bring you stress or even memories)
  • Some “sad” songs cause the brain to release a neurochemical, prolactin, which “helps elicit feelings of comfort, provides empathy, and may even make us feel better!”

How Music Can Help You Throughout the Academic Year

In my personal experience, listening to instrumentals and lofi beats while studying helped improve my concentration and made me feel relaxed. If this school year you know you will have to concentrate in a noisy household, I recommend putting on some headphones and listening to the following music genres:

  • Instrumentals
  • Meditation and Yoga Playlists
  • Lofi beats
  • Classical music
  • Jazz
  • Gospel/spiritual music

If for some reason, you can’t study/concentrate with music in the background, don’t worry! Music can also serve as an incentive to study. For example, if you work diligently for one hour, you can reward yourself by listening to Taylor Swift’s new album, Folklore, afterwards. If work causes high levels of stress, while you are on a break you can play soothing music in the background to provide a “faster recovery” from stress for your body. You will feel rejuvenated and ready to go back to work.

Where You Can Explore New Music

As you can see from the banners, there are countless streaming services where you can access and download music. I know that Youtube, Pandora (with ads), and Spotify (with ads), are all free. In addition to that, you can always share accounts with your friends/ family members. Also, if you are a student, you can qualify for Spotify’s premium account discount. This includes Spotify premium for $5 a month, and Showtime + Hulu at no extra cost! At this point, I’m just giving free promo to Spotify, but from personal experience, I think it’s definitely worth it.

If there is one universal language, it would have to be music. The vibrations, production of sounds, and emotion that comes with music is what can be universally felt throughout all cultures. It was designed to impact the physical structures in our brain and can improve mental health. Now more than ever, music is worth listening to in the year 2020.