Just 12 Minutes of Music Daily Can Aid Recovery In Mental Health

May 04, 2023; Unhurry Expert Research Team

According to a study by University of Southern Denmark Faculty of Health Sciences, just 12 minutes of binaural beats and four weeks of mindfulness training are effective recovery strategies to counteract the negative effects of mental fatigue on sustained attention.

The study explains that mental fatigue is a psychobiological state caused by prolonged periods of demanding cognitive activity which results in slower reaction times and attention deficits. It also affects the ability to focus and impacts the capacity to make optimal decisions during a given task.

Mindfulness helps in coping with stress

Moreover, mental fatigue is often responsible for accidents in traffic or the workplace and can lead to poor study efficiency.

We know that mindfulness has been shown to have a positive effect on stress-coping and cognitive performance. Music and auditory beat stimulation can reduce anxiety

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What are binaural beats?

Binaural beats are a perception of sound created by your brain. If you listen to two tones, each at a different frequency and each in a different ear, your brain creates an additional tone you can hear. This third tone is called a binaural beat.

How can binaural beats increase attention power?

There is also cumulating evidence suggesting that listening to binaural beats may increase sustained attention.

Binaural beats is an auditory illusion which has been framed as a class of cognitive and neural entrainment (Kirk et al., 2019).

Even though there are different tones of different frequency (165Hz in the left and 179 Hz in the right) presented in each ear the participant will hear one tone, which is the amalgamated difference between the two tones (beta range of 14 Hz).

Positive effects of music on Mental Health

Johanne L. Axelsen (SDU), Ulrich Kirk (SDU) and Walter Staiano (University of Valencia) tested in a study, the efficacy of binaural beats compared to mindfulness as a cognitive recovery strategy to counteract the negative effect of mental fatigue on sustained attention.

The study also tests whether the mindfulness interventions will show an effect for the on-the-spot novice group or for the experienced mindfulness group, who have practiced mindfulness for four weeks in an online-based mindfulness program through the app Headspace.

How can music be used as mental therapy?

There were five phases of the study, in the initial phase the participants’ mood were assessed (BRUMS) and they completed a sustained attention task to measure their mind wandering (SART). The second phase consisted of the mental fatigue treatment for 90 minutes (AX-CPT).

Immediately afterwards, the participants’ mood was assessed again, and the two on-the-spot interventions followed: either listening to a guided mindfulness meditation track for 12 min. or an audio track (with binaural beats) for 12 min. The control group was asked to relax for 12 min.

After this the effects of the interventions were tested using the sustained attention task.

Binaural beats has positive effect on sustained attention

The results showed that there was indeed an effect of on-the-spot binaural beats on sustained attention while in a state of experimentally induced mental fatigue. Interestingly, the experienced mindfulness group performed significantly better than the rest of the groups on the sustained attention task already before the mental fatigue was induced.

Furthermore, the group’s performance was better than that of the novice mindfulness group and the control group after the mental fatigue was induced.

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Music can relax the mind

The results, and results from previous work by Kirk et al. (2019), indicate that binaural beats may help suppress mind-wandering and sharpening of attentional focus, which in turn reduces the negative effect of mental fatigue.

The individual might feel more relaxed and less affected by mental fatigue after listening to the music.

Practising of mindfulness can increase focus

The same goes for the experienced mindfulness group, their mindfulness training already showed on the first task where they performed better than the rest of the groups.

This could indicate that practicing mindfulness helps you focus on the task at hand and is effective in offering strategies to handling stressful situations and economizing of mental energy.

Therefore, the study demonstrates that just 12 minutes of binaural beats and four weeks of mindfulness training were effective recovery strategies to counteract the negative effects of mental fatigue on sustained attention.

Can music help in improving heart rate variability?

The researchers are currently investigating whether listening to binaural beats for a longer period or practicing mindfulness will improve stressed individuals’ heart rate variability (HRV) and if this has an effect on performance in specific cognitive tasks.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Southern Denmark Faculty of Health Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Johanne Lundager Axelsen, Ulrich Kirk, Walter Staiano. On-the-Spot Binaural Beats and Mindfulness Reduces the Effect of Mental Fatigue. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, 2020; 4 (1): 31 DOI: 10.1007/s41465-019-00162-3

Page citation University of Southern Denmark Faculty of Health Sciences. “Music intervention and mindfulness reduces the effect of mental fatigue.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2020.

Find Help Here:

Name of the Organisation: Music as Therapy, India

Music as Therapy is based in Hyderabad. Since 2015 it supports caregivers to introduce music for children with learning disabilities and autism. Most recently the institute has been considering the ways music might help local carers for people living with dementia.

Website: https://www.musicastherapy.org/country/india/

Contact : info@musicastherapy.org

Name of the Organisation: The Mind Clan

The organisation curates inclusive and supportive resources to choose from for mental health. It devotes time and resources to help individuals understand a more personal form of caring for their mental health. The organisation is completely volunteer-driven, and offer the platform to users at no cost.

Contact: website: https://themindclan.com/

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