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April 16, 2018 – Research in the United Kingdom found going to a concert was more effective at improving wellbeing than yoga.

Diyet & The Love Soldiers at Breakout West, October 2016, in Regina, SK. Photo credit: Danielle Tocker.
Diyet & The Love Soldiers, closing in on the same microphone.

For the study, the researchers carried out psychometric tests – tools used to measure individuals' mental capabilities and behavioral style – on 60 people who were randomly assigned to one of three tasks: attend a Paloma Faith music concert, take a yoga session, or walk a dog. Although the research was commissioned by a music promoter, the methodology used by Patrick Fagan, researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, is robust.

The study found that those who went to the concert had a 21 percent boost in mood, while those who took a yoga class only saw a 10 percent increase. Those who walked their dogs only had a seven percent hike in happiness. Of all psychometrics included in the tests, arousal (how energised or excited one feels) and wellbeing (mental wellbeing based on several indicators such as feeling optimistic and feeling good about oneself) saw the biggest boost compared to the other two activities. Concert attendance was also found to be a pleasurable activity, an effective stress relief and contributed to a feeling of autonomy (e.g., "I feel like I can pretty much be myself"), although not significantly more than yoga or dog walking. In addition, post-test only measures suggested that the live concert resulted in more concentration on the task, which may support it being more physiologically engaging.

This study adds to the body of evidence on connections between concert attendance and various health outcomes. Other studies have found that listening to music increases dopamine levels (a chemical that enhances mood), boosts the immune system, could have anti-inflammatory properties, and contributes to a sense of belonging.

 

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