Most Saudis consider pop music an effective way to uplift mood, says study

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Maroon 5’s ‘She Will Be Loved’ was the most popular song among listeners in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
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Saudi musicians such as Abadi Al-Johar can raise people’s mood. (File photo)
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Updated 07 January 2020

Most Saudis consider pop music an effective way to uplift mood, says study

RIYADH: Nutritional experts across the globe agree that our bodies require a balanced diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But can our listening habits also influence our well-being?
Global music streaming service Deezer recently commissioned scientists at the British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) to uncover a musical recommended daily allowance (RDA) for a healthy body and mind.
The study explored the relationship between music and mental and physical well-being by examining how listening to different styles and genres affects mood. Over 7,500 people across eight countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, participated in the survey.
The study revealed that relaxation was the most common emotional benefit gained from music (90 percent), followed by happiness (82 percent) and overcoming sadness (47 percent). A third of participants (32 percent) reported using music to help them concentrate, while more than a quarter (28 percent) dealt with anger through their tunes.
 Pop music was highlighted as the most effective genre for inducing happiness (25 percent), with “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 emerging as the most popular song among listeners in Saudi Arabia.
The research showed that participants felt happier within just five minutes of listening to joyful tunes. Those surveyed also reported feeling more satisfied with life (86 percent), having increased energy (89 percent) and laughing more (65 percent) when playing their favorite “feel-good” songs.
Listeners in Saudi Arabia selected Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” as the best choice for achieving a calm state of mind. Participants reported feeling peaceful and contented (92 percent), having reduced muscle tension (79 percent) and sleeping better (82 percent) when listening to relaxing songs. According to experts from BAST, a slow tempo helps to aid relaxation due to how the brain processes sound. The rhythm and patterns found in music have a direct influence on patterns within the biological system, regulating brainwaves, heart rate and neurochemistry.
“Music fans have always understood that listening to their favorite songs has a profound emotional impact, and the findings of our new study confirm this belief,” commented Tarek Mounir, Deezer’s CEO for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. “Whether listeners are enjoying a happy moment, dealing with a stressful situation or simply wish to relax and unwind after a hectic day, our professionally curated playlists offer the perfect soundtrack. Deezer’s unrivaled music library ensures users can reflect and enhance their emotional states, whatever their musical preferences.”


• 14 minutes of uplifting music to feel happy (18% of musical recommended daily allowance)

• 16 minutes of calming music to relax (20.5% of musical RDA)

• 16 minutes of songs to overcome sadness (20.5%)

• 15 minutes of motivating music to aid concentration (19%)

• 17 minutes of music to help manage anger (22%)

Lyz Cooper of BAST explained: “There are certain properties of music that affect the mind and body. Dedicating time each day to listening to music that triggers different emotions can have a hugely beneficial impact on our well-being. Listening to happy songs increases blood flow to areas of the brain associated with reward, and decreases flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear.”
 A third of respondents (28 percent) reported that rock music helps them to process feelings of anger, with “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen revealed as the top song choice in Saudi Arabia. The study showed that while a third (31 percent) of respondents prefer music with a fast tempo when feeling angry, another third favor slow-tempo tunes. This difference comes down to genetic make-up. Rousing music can increase heart rate, blood pressure and emotional response, which helps some listeners to process their angry emotions.
Deezer’s team of music editors have created a bespoke playlist based on the results to help ensure users get their musical RDA. The playlist features the recommended breakdown of different music styles and genres.

Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

Updated 26 May 2020

Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

  • People celebrating Eid alone or abroad find ways to stay positive

JEDDAH: For different reasons many people living in the Kingdom have found themselves alone for the holidays due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, their spirits dampened as they are forced to stay home alone, away from loved ones.

As the pandemic enters its third month in Saudi Arabia, flights have not yet resumed, strict social distancing and safety measures are still in place and curfews have been reimposed to curb the spread of the virus during the Eid holidays.

Many families are stranded in cities across the Kingdom, while Saudis studying and working abroad are either stuck or have chosen to spend summer where they are out of fear they will not be able to return and start their new semesters.

Some people were able to move in with their families and quarantine together, while others were deprived of that chance.

A number of Saudi nationals, including students, have been repatriated in the past couple of weeks while others are still waiting for their turn.

Yousef Al-Ayesh, a 21-year-old senior student at Arizona State University, has been at home since late March as a precautionary measure.

He said that Eid with his family in Jeddah was one event that everyone looked forward to all year long. Under normal circumstances the first three days of Eid would be filled with events — family dinners at night and beach excursions during the day. Although he would be sleep-deprived, he would still make the most of the little time he spent with his family due to his studies.

“With all that’s going on, it doesn’t even feel like it’s Eid,” he told Arab News. 

“It most probably would have been different if I was back in Saudi Arabia but I still wouldn’t have been able to celebrate it the same way. It’s not that bad here (in the US) now since restaurants have reopened and my friends and I have the outdoors to enjoy, have a barbecue, or just hang out. I would have felt worse if I was alone. Ramadan was already odd enough, I don’t think I would have been OK if it were the case without them.”

Although his family lives 8,000 miles away he did not feel alone as his group of friends decided to celebrate together, even without the perks of new clothes and eidiyas from aunts and uncles.

It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed

Al-Ayesh hoped to be repatriated to the Kingdom soon and spend some time with his family after his mandatory quarantine.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed, a 29-year-old expat working and living in Riyadh, said this year’s Eid was tough without his family.

Although he is used to living alone because of his job, Eid was the one occasion he looked forward to the most every year because he got to travel to Cairo and be with his family.

“My family moved from Jeddah to Cairo about four or five years ago and Eid is a significant occasion in the family, Eid Al-Fitr is significantly more special than Eid Al-Adha even,” he told Arab News. “I look forward to traveling to see them every year since moving to Riyadh but wasn’t able to with the lockdown, so we all got together on FaceTime video call and spent the whole day speaking to family members.”

Like many expats, Fareed has spent the past months at home and said it was hard for him and his family but that communication had made the ordeal slightly easier.

“It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way,” he added.