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Minimalist music combatting mental health issues

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I believe that non-intrusive pieces of music can be much more effective at combatting mental health problems than pieces that address your thoughts.

Firstly, mental health is an issue which we, as a student collective, need to tackle more. Mental health problems are at an all time high among our generation, with one out of every three people in a classroom likely to be affected. This trajectory seems unlikely to stop, given the increasing pressure our society places on the younger generation through media and the deification of those who have ‘made it’ to succeed and be our best in every aspect of life.

Music therefore, has an almost meditative effect, allowing us to isolate ourselves from the chaos of endless deadlines and social pressure

Such insurmountable pressure has led to music becoming a means of coping with the stress. Music therefore, has an almost meditative effect, allowing us to isolate ourselves from the chaos of endless deadlines and social pressure. Most, if not all of us often need those five minutes a day just to listen to music and alleviate some of that pressure through multiple replays of our favourite song; but for me, these types of songs add to the chaos. In other words, they do little to aid the underlying issues, adding to the stress and covering it with loud noises rather than combatting it head on.

Music needs to be enjoyable, of course, but it also needs to be non-intrusive. For me, listening to music at the highest volume and pretending that I’m isolated from my problems isn’t my most effective way of dealing with them. Music should not deprive you of the reflection you need to contextualise your situation and frame that which is causing you anxiety.

The example songs provided at the end of this article are in their essence, minimalist, which gives not only the bliss of isolation and distance, but also the space to reflect and think much more clearly.

Some people need to cover up their stress before they go out and combat it

Minimalist music, as a genre, came from a rejection of the busy orchestras and the mass media frenzy which came before it. It is, in its most basic essence, a rejection of the pressures and stresses of our society. Therefore, it makes sense that whilst we are also searching for such an escape, that we should turn to these pieces for the distance we fundamentally need, as human beings, to adjust and simplify our perception of the problems and the stresses of society.

This advice isn’t sovereign and by no means works for all people, as some people simply need that isolation from their problems. Some people need to cover up their stress before they go out and combat it. Everybody has their own strategies and I’m not saying this is the right one. However, this method helped me a lot and I believe it’s important we all combat this issue by sharing our methods for coping with stress and anxiety.

If this genre interests you, check out Nostos by Jean-Michel Blais and Hopopono by GoGo Penguin and see what you think.

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