Many people used music to relieve feelings of depression, anxiety and stress during the lockdown, a recent study revealed. The study found that people who had an increase in positive emotions were either listening to or making music to cope with their feelings during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study was carried out based on responses of 5,000 people from India, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, and the US through an online survey during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic between mid-April and mid-May 2020. More than half the respondents reported using music to cope with emotional and social stressors.
“It’s worth noting that music itself wasn’t the coping aid, but rather, music-related behaviour, specifically the ways people have adapted their musical behaviours during the crisis,” Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann, director of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics that conducted the study, said in a media statement. “In this regard, music listening and music-making appear to provide different coping potentials,” she added.
During the lockdown, people used music mainly to positively influence their individual emotional valence and arousal levels, the study stated. “The top ten functions that increased most in importance for listening and making music all point towards mitigating negative states and emotions and boosting positive ones, most importantly via enjoyment in music itself.”
Mumbai based psychiatrist Dr Sagar Mundada (not involved with the study) agreed that music can play a key role in coping with stress and anxiety. “I have often recommended calming music with instruments such as flute or violin to my patients with anxiety and sleep disorders,” said Mundada. “In simple terms, the brains of these patients are continuously emitting high-frequency waves. Music helps calm them down and reduce this frequency. It acts as a supplement to the medication in mild cases,” he said.
The pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has resulted in a spurt in cases of phobia, anxiety and sleep disorders. “When recommending music as a supplement, one must ensure that the patient is fond of music. I don’t recommend it to patients who have no interest in music,” said Mundada.