Can listening to 'extreme' music calm you down?

When you’re stressed do you listen to artists such as Miles Davis, Chopin and Whitney Houston? Well if so then your method to calm down may be incorrect...  

A new study has discovered that listening to 'extreme' artists such as Black Veil Brides, My Chemical Romance and Ozzy Osborne are a much more effective way of chilling out if you're feeling stressed.

Researchers from the University of Queensland found that listening to what is deemed as ‘extreme’ music, such as emo, heavy metal and screamo can actually calm people down and inspire them.

The study was headed up by Dr Genevieve Dingle and Honours student Leah Sharman, who used a sample of 39 regular 'extreme music' listeners.

"Results showed levels of hostility, irritability and stressed decreased after music was introduced, and the most significant change reported was the level of inspiration they felt," Sharman said.

The 39 participants were between the ages of 18 and 34 and were asked to talk about something that angered them in the daily lives for 16 minutes. Then they either sat in silence or listened to an extreme song of their choice for 10 minutes. Their heart rates were monitored throughout and they were asked how they felt. The results showed that listening to ‘extreme’ music had the same calming effects as sitting in silence.

However all of the participants were already heavy metal listeners, and the study does note that the effects of the extreme music may be unique to fans of the genre.

"It was interesting that half of the chosen songs contained themes of anger or aggression, with the remainder containing themes like – though not limited to – isolation and sadness," Sharman commented.

She suggested that as the music contains themes of anger and isolation, the listeners feel as if they can relate to the songs and they can match their anger to the music.

But whether or not you already listen to heavy metal or other extreme music, it could be worth trying to help you relax and broaden your horizons. Who knows? You might even like it...

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