World Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and addressing mental health problems is more pressing than ever. The pandemic has caused mental stress in people globally with lockdowns and social distancing. The good thing is, music has been found to have positive effects on our mental well-being. We ask our music instructors at Ritmo Music Studio to share some of their mental well-being tips with us.
What to do when you feel stressed?
There are many different things we turn to when we feel stressed. Ronald, who is our acoustic and guitar instructor shared that his way out of stress is to check out his Spotify app and go to YouTube to search for interesting music content. Ariela, our drum instructor, turns to music when feeling stressed. She would pick up an instrument to play too as a distraction.
For our music instructors, they unanimously agree that immersion into music to break away from our fast-paced society for a breather helps with maintaining mental well-being. At times, Ariela goes for a job while David recommends playing games on the PC or Switch as a way to relax.
When asked what are the causes of stress, David and Ronald feel the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic is a major factor. Not only we do not know what the future may hold, and the crippling effect Covid-19 has had on the economy. There is also the feeling of not having any control – such as when we will be infected with Covid-19 and if we will suffer mild or serious effects.
Recommended music for reducing stress
There is a wide genre of music to choose from for stress reduction. Ronald suggests light music such as pop ballads, jazz, country, or blues to ease the mood. But he said it really depends on the individual. Ariela and David agree. It depends on whether the individual needs cathartic stress relief or soothing calm music to meet his or her needs.
Ariela suggests soul, lo-fi genre of music, and even religious songs. It depends if you are lyrics or vibe-focused. Or just select a mix playlist on Spotify to find out.
Is stress an inevitable part of life?
Ronald agrees that stress is an inevitable part of life especially in Singapore, where there is a level of commitment to our families. Due to this, income stability is important and any uncertainty brings the mind to a dark place.
Ariela and David on the other hand think what is important is self-awareness. They too agree stress is always there. David thinks without stress, we would not be able to improve ourselves. However, it is important to know our minds’ tolerance of stress, so that we don’t take on too much or too little. They believe challenges are good, but too much may break a person.
Self-awareness is important so that we know when to take action to mitigate the stress. Speaking to someone we trust when the alarm sounds (in our minds) is also a key to help the mind not go into overdrive.
You can explore using sound as a way for stress reduction too. Calm and soothing sounds can bring the mind to a state of calm compared to melodies and songs with lyrics.