New study indicates listening to music can boost your mental wellbeing

(Image credit: Robert Alexander - Getty)

A new study has found that listening to music can provide a boost to mental wellbeing, with those taking part in the survey overwhelmingly agreeing that listening to their favourite records is a source of comfort.

The UK study was carried out by the Entertainment Retailers Association, with the figures based on a survey of a total of 2019 adults conducted by Fly Research in August this year.

When asked if listening to albums helped them relax, 82.9% agreed, while 76.4% responded positively when asked if listening to albums made them feel better if they were feeling down.

Asked if listening to their favourite albums was a source of comfort, 74.3% responded positively, while 64.7% said that they listened to their best-loved music if they needed a lift in their mood.

The findings come ahead of World Mental Health Day which takes place tomorrow (October 10) and National Album Day which is set for Saturday.

Author and academic Dr Julia Jones says: “We’ve been aware of the scientific evidence regarding the positive effects of music on the brain and body for decades. We also know that taking ‘time out’ of our hectic schedules is essential to maintain our well-being.

We should all be switching off the TV and listening to an album before bed every night.

Dr Julia Jones

“So the album offers a perfect recipe for delivering the cocktail of neurochemical and physiological benefits, while also ensuring we enjoy an extended break. 

“It’s an experience with a built-in stopwatch so there’s no need for clock watching. We can just sit back and enjoy the effects.”

Jones adds: “The album is a particularly effective intervention at night when we're approaching bedtime. Sleep has been identified as an absolutely critical factor in wellbeing and listening to a low tempo relaxing album can help get us into 'sleep mode' and increase the likelihood of a solid eight hours of rest and recovery. 

“For that reason alone we should all be switching off the TV and listening to an album before bed every night.”

The CEO of the ERA Kim Bayley says: “National Album Day is fundamentally a celebration of the cultural impact of the album. What is striking about this research is it’s a potent reminder that album listening can also have psychological benefits too. 

“We tend to regard listening to music purely as entertainment, but at a time when there are real concerns about stress levels and mental health, this research indicates that British music fans are effectively self-medicating with their favourite albums. “

Chief executive of the BPI Geoff Taylor agrees that music is a good way to unwind, and adds: “Its benefits can go much deeper when the listener really takes the time to slow down and immerse themselves in the whole album as the songwriter intended. 

“Fans can engage with what the artist is saying to them, and, as the survey suggests, it’s this point of empathy and the emotional connection it enables, that can help to encourage mindfulness and wellbeing.”   

World Mental Health Day takes place annually on October 10 and this year’s theme set by the World Federation For Mental Health is suicide prevention.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.