Anyone who's been to a music festival can attest to the very unique high it can produce. It comes from the reverberating music, happy faces and dancing bodies (sometimes the drugs help), and it can linger long after one re-enters the real world. It turns out there's some real science detailing this effect.
Concerts, clubs and communal music experiences don't just offer the chance for those in attendance to let loose for a night — such events can significantly improve one's happiness, a new study published in the Psychology of Music found.
Researchers from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, surveyed 1,000 people over the age of 18, some who regularly attended group music outings and some who did not. They found that those who regularly attended musical events reported significantly higher feelings of wellbeing than those who chose to stay at home.
It seems that this communal experience of music is what makes all the difference. Those who sang and danced alone did not exhibit significantly higher scores for subjective wellbeing, or "the scientific psychological term for general mood 'happiness', which is positive, stable and consistent over time."
Additionally, people who engaged with the music at events by dancing along, reported even higher scores on several of the study's happiness measures than others who attended but listened more passively.
"Compared to people who did not dance, those who danced reported significantly higher scores for satisfaction with health (p < .001), achieving in life (p < .001), relationships (p< .05), and community (p < .01)," the study noted.
Now, it should be noted that the results are only correlational. People who attended more concerts usually come from higher socioeconomic brackets and could be feeling happier and more secure for other reasons.
Still, the results make a strong case that active and collective music engagement is preferable to passive listening. Sitting at home listening to vinyl isn't going to cut it. Next time you're at a concert, dance like no one's watching: it might just be a major key to your happiness.