music addiction

This video popped up in my feed recently: I didn't listen to music for 3 months (a science experiment).

And I never realized I had a music addiction until now.

It convinced me to delete spotify from my Macbook and iPhone yesterday.

Throughout the day, I play music endlessly, leaving no room for silence.

I play songs first thing in the morning, while I'm doing work, while I drive, while I'm in the bathroom, and even outside in shopping malls.

My spotify activity is probably around 6-8 hours a day.

I notice myself being anxious and bored when it's silent and there's no music. My mind would be replaying songs in my head throughout the day and when I got to sleep. I have no pause button for my brain.

Now back to the video.

She references a study done in 2010 on music addiction, and I feel the same way. I had to have music playing for me to start doing my work. I remember times when I forget my airpods and I would feel like I won't be able to get anything done at all. It was like I was crippled and music was my support system.

In today's world, music consumption is ubiquitous and it appears that some individuals, especially among younger people, are unable to function effectively in daily life without continued access to their music of choice – Cockrill et al. 2010

She also defines addiction based on three traits

  1. craving or compulsion
  2. loss of control
  3. persistence of behaviour despite accruing of negative consequences

source: Shaffer et al. 2000

She mentions two benefits of not listening to music all the time from her experiment: heightened presence and emotional clarity

The first one involved being closer to nature and your environment, and little things like hearing conversations from the people around can make you feel more connected to people instead of blocking out the outside world and live in your own world.

The second one is the opposite of emotional confusion. She talked about emotional confusion which helped describe what I've been experiencing the past 3 months.

I'm either numbing my emotions or I'm just exaggerating them with music.

It made me create problems that aren't real, conjuring sadness out of nothing, and just overall made me not live in the moment.

"Listening to sad music induces ambivalent emotion."

Kawakami et al. 2013

However, she's not advocating that we stop listening to music completely, music has a lot of benefits.

"When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest" – Henry David Thoreau

"Music is the universal language of mankind." – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Her advice is to try not listening to music for an hour, a day, or a week if you can and notice how you're feeling. And to be more intentional in listening to music, since we have an unlimited source of music with Spotify, it's easy to overconsume it endlessly.

Today I had this video of Calcifer in the fireplace playing in the background which I think don't count as music, at least not the music I usually listen to all day long.

Also, I did work outside of my room without any music, and I finished writing 3 articles today. I was almost too productive today. I got a slight headache afterwards.

So maybe it's working? I'll need a longer time horizon to tell for sure. Maybe it was a change of my environment. I'll be reporting back in a week.