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

Posted on

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.

We aim to keep our clients up to date on interesting and relevant financial news.

You can sign-up to receive our monthly newsletter by email, even if you’re not yet a client. Sign-up using the form below.

Client testimonials

I have always found Black Swan to be caring and understanding of my quirky lifestyle. I always feel they try to get me the best returns while respecting my current needs.

Sally Muir

A client since 2011

We would be very happy to recommend the support and service we receive.

Valerie Locks

A client since 2010

I have always been completely useless regarding finance - thankfully our financial adviser is not! I've retired with far more than I ever expected and investments continue to grow safely. So - thank you!

Bernadette Jane Warner

A client since 2000

Very happy with the professional service I have received and feel a lot happier now with my finances put in order.

Martin Field

A client since 2011

Julie Cooper was recommended to me by a work colleague. She has been very helpful, professional and has explained everything well. I would definitely recommend her services to anyone else who are interested in a financial review.

Steven Rooke

A client since 2018

…Service has been first class.

Hugh Fells

A client since 2012

My face to face meetings with Rob Young and Jessica Lyons have always been very open and understandable. My questions have been answered clearly and I have left feeling that my financial matters are in good hands.

Sandra Jack

A client since 2000

[A] safe pair of hands in a complex financial world.

Gary Middlehurst

A client since 2003

A reliable company with good communication skills and good knowledge of the financial markets.

Alan Evetts

A client since 2014

Maureen Pembridge is a long-time trusted advisor to our family. The market might fluctuate but her attention to detail is consistent.

Linda Burnard

A client since 2000

I am pleased to recommend Julie as a trustworthy financial advisor. She explains financial jargon in plain language, and always listens carefully to my particular financial needs and has helped me make the best of my savings.

Carolann Samuels

A client since 2010

I have always been satisfied with the way that Black Swan has handled my account. And I have always found the staff very helpful whenever I need to call the office.

Robert Anthony Matthews

A client since 2012

An excellent personal service from a person I know and trust.

Michael Dalton

A client since 2010

I am getting a very good services from Black Swan, they have got my investments sorted out which was in a bit of a mess.

Roy Jakens

A client since 2012

A good, efficient team providing clear ideas to shape a winning strategy.

Adrian Michael Levenstein

A client since 2011

Black Swan is a company to be trusted, with friendly staff and professional advisors.

David Brian Jennings

A client since 2017

I have been with Black Swan for many years. I have never wished to change anything. They give a good straight forward service.

Martin Barrett Brooks

A client since 2010

Andy Peters has been invaluable in firstly combining several pension pots and then giving excellent investment advice. It has given us a great deal of comfort to know that our financial affairs are in such good hands.

James Guillum Scott

A client since 2014

I find my financial advisor easy to talk to and feel that she understands my lifestyle. She is always available for help when I need her and explains in words that I can understand.

Margaret Ena Glasgow

A client since 2000

Andy is a first rate Director, excellent communicator and leader.

Ross Perry

A client since

Black Swan Financial Planning and Andrew in particular, are very clever at working out how risk averse we are, and coming up with solutions that we feel comfortable with. We are happy in the knowledge that we can continue to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Andrew Peters is a very, very friendly person who is great to chat to and easy to deal with. He explains things very clearly in layman’s terms, and if we still don’t understand, he explains it until we do!

Alan & Jane Dyer

Clients since 2012

We have always found Rob [Young] to be very approachable and knowledgeable. We have every confidence in the advice given and feel comfortable with the decisions we’ve made. There are certain opportunities that we wouldn’t have known about if Rob hadn’t brought them to light, which makes the advice good value for money as far as we’re concerned.

Peter & Pauline O’Halloran

Clients since 2013

Rob [Young] is extremely knowledgeable. I knew nothing about the different types of trusts which will not only secure my income in retirement, but also leave a legacy for my children. I’m glad that I sought his advice when I did.

Sarah Wilson

A client since 2015

I am extremely happy with the service afforded to me by the company and my adviser Julie Cooper.

Geoff Coxell

A client since 2010

My wife and myself have been dealing with Black Swan for a number of years. We have met with different representatives from the company over the years and have found all very helpful in their own way. We met with James [Anderson] a few years ago and found him very helpful and knowledgeable. He keeps in contact with us on a regular basis. We find the Company information very helpful and we feel very secure with our finances.

Andrew Kirchen

A client since 2015

I have always found my adviser to be easy to contact, very professional in his approach, yet friendly and understanding. I have a sense of an experienced company behind him, really on the ball financially and with good standards.

B McBean

A client since 2011

Partner with the most reliable and experienced team of advisers

Enter your details & we'll be in touch to discuss your needs.
Alternatively, contact us directly and speak to a member of the team.

    Subscribe to our newsletter