As regular gig-goers have known for a long time, going to concerts makes you happier, but now it is official with scientific backing and everything! According to research done by psychology professors Dawn Joseph and Melissa K. Weinberg at Australia’s Deakin University, interacting with live music can make you a happier all round person as anyone who has waited for a drop to kick in, in a venue packed with thousands of other sweaty, writhing bodies can attest.
In a study where 1,000 people were interviewed about their gig-going habits, it was found that those who more actively engaged with it seemed to be happier and more rounded people with the study saying “Music is proposed to reduce stress, and can evoke positive feelings such as joy, relaxation, and empowerment. Music engagement can also be used as a problem-coping strategy, and as a medium for facilitating social relationships, and was even associated with a lower mortality rate in a large national Swedish study. Perhaps most importantly, engagement with music is often associated with emotion regulation, with people turning to music as a strategy to help manage and regulate their mood.”
Positive effects of gig-going are also heightened when you interact with those around you thus making it a shared experience. The joy of seeing your favorite band is amplified by acknowledging it with others of a similar mindset and as such, the excruciating amount of cash you shelled out to see Britney last year could well be a little more justified since it was for the good of your mental well-being. However, passive listening doesn’t quite have the same effect.
“Though hearing music is practically unavoidable in today’s day and age, engaging with music extends beyond just passive listening…Given the importance of social connection to subjective well-being, it may be expected that the benefits of music to subjective wellbeing are limited to those who engage with music as a means of social facilitation.” What this means is that, in a day and age where we quite often use music as a form of avoiding interaction, i.e. headphones on onboard the train, this does not serve to better our happiness but interaction with it does.
So next time you are trying to decide whether to shell out a few bucks on seeing that new band that you’re not sure about, don’t think twice and just dive in. You can read more about the study here.