I listen to heavy metal daily, it’s my way of destressing, as weird as that may sound for some who’re really not into it. It’s just the genre itself, I can’t explain it, is really my caliber. It’s emotional, heavy, stress-relieving and just overall my vibe. Now, I know more than 50% will disagree with me, but that’s okay. As long as we respect each other’s music choices, all is good! But, let me discuss what today’s post is actually about!
- Part of a community
First of all, while not specific to heavy metal per se, is that when you listen to it, you feel like you’re part of a community. By listening to your favourite bands, going to gigs, and talking to your friends, being a heavy metal fan helps you form common bonds with others. The heavy metal scene is notorious for its fan base and the camaraderie that metal fans have is second-to-none. Never underestimate the power of feeling part of something greater than yourself. Being part of a community and feeling of belonging is incredibly important to your self-esteem and mental health.
2. Encourages reading
Linked to the first point, a fan of something like heavy metal usually fosters interest in the topic. If you’re really into the genre, you’ll probably also read blogs, magazines and maybe even books on the topic. Anything that gets teens or young adults to read is never bad. Some heavy metal fans may even build lucrative media careers out of the activity. The act of reading will pay you dividends in the long run. Reading can provide a number of important health benefits, including a longer life expectancy, more empathy, and it can boost your creativity and flexibility.
3. Good for the brain
An interesting study has shown that listening to music you enjoy, such as heavy metal, can have incredible benefits for your cognitive skills and memory. By comparing participants who listened to music they liked or disliked, it found that there were some interesting effects on the brain. It found that by listening to music they didn’t like, participants showed a marked reduction in their ability to rotate objects in their mind (spatial rotation). Interestingly, however, listening to music (like or dislike) also seemed to hinder short-term memory performance.
4. Explore new things
Yet another study has shown that heavy metal fans, or those who prefer more intense and complex melodies, are more open to new experiences. Unsurprisingly, heavy metal fans also showed a negative attitude towards authority. However, the research found that quite a few fans also seemed to show relatively lower self-esteem and a craving for uniqueness. They also seemed to have a lower religiosity – which should come as no surprise given the inherent authoritarian nature of organised religion.
5. Less violent
Despite the common claim that genres of music like heavy metal make fans more violent, research has shown the exact opposite. A recent study found that listening to heavy metal actually reduces a person’s susceptibility to violence. The study also found that long-term fans were generally happier in their youth and better adjusted in middle age than non-metalheads. In addition, another study also showed that heavy metal can help you calm down faster after a triggering event. Study participants were pissed off and then asked to listen to heavy metal. This resulted in a marked increase in positive emotions. The results suggest that ‘extreme’ music can be used as an effective means of regulating negative emotions such as anger.
6. You’re more sceptical
As a heavy metal fan, you can become more of a critical thinker. When the media or other authorities claim that heavy metal makes fans more violent or depressed, etc., fans can develop their investigative skills by investigating the claims. This will develop scientific thinking, gain an understanding of logical fallacies, research design issues and an appreciation for prejudice. Of course, like any close-knit community, it can also have the opposite effect. But the danger of living in a ‘bubble’ of thoughts isn’t unique to metalheads.
7. Reduces stress
And finally, listening to any kind of music you love, especially heavy metal, has been shown to drastically reduce stress levels. When we listen to our favorite tunes, the levels of cortisol in our body decrease significantly over time. This is important because stress has been shown to be the cause of about 60% of most diseases and conditions. One study has shown that actively participating in music creation can actually boost your immune system more than just listening to music. So, as the saying goes, ‘some metal a day keeps the doctor away!’
Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❤
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