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78 Minutes. Scientists Reveal Amount of Music Recommended for Aiding Mental Wellbeing18.11.2019

British scientists pored over the listening habits of over 7,500 people to gain better insight into the relationship between music and mental health and wellbeing. 

The research project, commissioned by streaming service Deezer, was conducted by the British Academy of Sound Therapy. Participants were asked to fill out a survey with questions interrogating specific genre preferences and frequency of listening sessions, but also the impact of music consumption on dealing with emotions. As many as 90% of respondents acknowledged that music relaxed them, while 82% revealed that listening to music brought them happiness. Nearly half admitted to using music to fight sadness, while 28% claimed to use it for anger management (the list of bands most frequently mentioned in the latter use case included AC/DC, Rammstein, Metallica, Linkin Park, and Nirvana). 

The study also found that listening to 78 minutes of music daily could help maintain mental wellbeing. In order to receive the emotional benefits of listening to diverse genres, the scholars recommended breaking down the 78 minutes into: 

  • 14 minutes of uplifting, happiness-inducing music,
  • 16 minutes of calming, relaxing music, 
  • 16 minutes of music to overcome sadness, 
  • 15 minutesof motivating, concentration-aiding music, 
  • 17 minutes of anger-managing music. 

Additionally, the researchers revealed that as little as 11 minutes of listening could already produce  a therapeutic effect. The amount for happiness was even lower, because the experts found that as few as 5 minutes of happiness-inducing music were enough to shift the mood. According to the respondents, pop music was best suited to eliciting a feeling of happiness, while calming and relaxation was best achieved using classical music—with Beethoven’s Sixth being the most-frequently cited piece. 

“There are certain properties of music that affect the mind and body,” comments Lyz Cooper of the British Academy of Sound Therapy. “Dedicating time each day to listen to music that triggers different emotions can have a hugely beneficial impact on our wellbeing. Listening to happy songs increases blood flow to areas of the brain associated with reward, and decreases flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear,” adds the scholar.

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