Music and mood: Why turning up Wham! and Duran Duran could boost your health

10.03.2021

When you want to unwind, what do you do? Maybe you go for a run or put your feet up with a book? However, research suggests one of the best things you could do is turn up some music. But don’t just put on any tune – 80s pop could be the best at reducing anxiety.

Researchers hooked up over 1,500 volunteers to blood pressure and heart rate monitors and then played them a variety of music. Songs from the 80s were the most effective at reducing stress, according to a report in the Daily Mail. It discovered the likes of Wham!, Pet Shop Boys, and Duran Duran can reduce blood pressure, an indicator of low anxiety, when compared to other genres. Some 96% of volunteers were less anxious when listening to 80s music.

High blood pressure can have a serious impact on your health, including increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. In some people, feelings of anxiety or stress can trigger high blood pressure. While choosing the right music isn’t a substitute for lifestyle changes or medical treatment, the findings present an interesting view on how music can improve wellbeing.

Other genres had a positive impact on wellbeing too, including 2000s pop and even heavy metal. In contrast, techno, dubstep, and 70s rock anthems made blood pressure rise.

The music genres that had a positive impact might seem like a strange mix. The researchers suggest upbeat pop music can induce endorphins and serotonin in the brain, which increase feelings of happiness and calm. They also propose that heavy metal music can help listeners process feelings better, leading to lower levels of stress.

The new study challenges previous research, which indicates calming classical music is more likely to reduce stress. So, is it just the beats that are leading to less anxiety? Nostalgia is likely playing a role.

Why a bit of nostalgia is good for you

Music can take you back, sometimes decades. A favourite tune from the 80s might transport you to simpler, more carefree times in your past. In some cases, it might also be the memories associated with the music that has a calming effect.

In the past, however, nostalgia wasn’t seen as a positive emotion.

When the term was first coined in the 17th century, it described a medical condition and form of melancholy. It was associated with a yearning for the past. That may be true in some cases, but many people feel nostalgic when they fondly remember past experiences while still enjoying the present.

Clay Routledge, a professor of management at North Dakota State University, who has recently published a study on nostalgia, set out some of the benefits of reminiscing about the past in a Wall Street Journal article. These include:

  • Helping to find creative inspiration
  • Improving self-confidence and optimism
  • Helping people feel more connected
  • Providing a greater sense of meaning
  • Offering motivation to pursue goals.

In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests nostalgia can be a good thing and even help you move forward in life. Routledge notes that while nostalgic memories often contain a mixture of emotions, the positive usually outweighs the negative. Revisiting childhood memories or important life events doesn’t have to be a negative experience – it can be valuable.

“Step back in time”

Sometimes we’ll be nostalgic due to how we’re feeling, but more often there’s a specific trigger. It could be the smell of dinner cooking that takes you back to your childhood home, a chat with an old friend that reminds you of a holiday, or a certain song playing on the radio.

Listening to music can evoke strong memories. Research suggests that because music provides a rhythm and rhyme, it can help unlock memories we have stored but can’t quite remember. With the right music playing you may be able to retrieve every detail of a certain event but struggle without the soundtrack. There’s a strong link between music, memory, and emotions.

Putting on the right playlist could let you “step back in time” (released in 1980!) a la Kylie Minogue, and go a long way to improve your mood.

No Comments
next

    What would you like to discuss:MortgagesWealthProtectionSolicitorsOthers

    Any information you submit will only be processed to handle with your enquiry. Please see our Privacy Notice, and select the box.

    about us
    The vision at Spinningfields Lifetime Partners is to deliver bespoke, transparent, complete financial planning. With an aim of continuing to put the client at the heart of everything that we do, motivated to deliver their financial goals.
    Subscribe To Our Newsletter

    If you would like more information on how call our consultants could help your business, contact us today.

      Compliance

      Spinningfields Lifetime Partners Limited is an appointed representative of Quilter Financial Services Ltd and Quilter Mortgage Planning Ltd, which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Spinningfields Lifetime Partners Ltd is registered in England and Wales. Registered Number 11412273, Directors: J Butler, M Headen, P Merrigan, U Ozturk. Registered Office: 12-14 Upper Marlborough Road, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3UR.

      top