Singing along to pop and rock hits behind the wheel could make you drive more safely, according to therapists.
If you’re stressed by traffic conditions or frustrated while stuck in a jam, belting out a tune will help you concentrate better and make you calmer, says Chroma, the UK’s leading arts therapy provider.
A Spotify “drivetime” playlist compiled by the company includes favourites such as Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band, Fast Car by Tracy Chapman and Gold Digger by Kanye West – all of which could be beneficial.
Daniel Thomas, managing director of Chroma, said: “Scientists have undertaken research showing that singing significantly improves psychological health and wellbeing as it engages the neurochemical systems responsible for reward, motivation, pleasure and stress.
“Singing along while driving will stimulate senses, get your diaphragm working and push oxygen to your brain. By increasing the level of oxygen, you’ll bring about chemical processes that affect you physiologically, bringing about a sense of relaxation
“In short, if you find yourself feeling stressed while driving, try putting on the playlist and signing along. It should put you in a better state of mind to drive calmly.”
Daniel added that singing was not always the answer, though. Sometimes it was more beneficial to listen to music in order to improve your mood, get more motivated, or even support increased focus and concentration.
“If you’ve been driving for a long time, you’ll probably get more benefit from listening to reflective instrumentals. There are academic studies to support the idea that background music increases attention levels, extends focus, improves memory and allows for deeper thinking in the classroom. These are the same skills needed when driving long distances to keep the brain stimulated and aware.
“However, it’s not as easy as streaming an ambient sounds album. You do need something with variety and interest. Some music can be so repetitive that it becomes annoying and has a negative effect.”
The Chroma “Relaxation” Spotify playlist includes Memory Gospel by Moby, Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega and Fly Me to the Moon by Groove Armada.
Music therapy is an official allied health profession and has been used in the UK for more than 70 years. Trained therapists use music to help clients with issues ranging from cognitive function and motor skills to emotional development and quality of life. It is widely used in places such as schools and hospitals, and is supported by strong evidence of success.
Daniel continued: “These playlists are part of an ongoing awareness campaign to show how music can be used to positively affect behaviour in many different kinds of situations.”
Drivetime singalong playlist includes:
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
Give it Up – KC and the Sunshine Band
Gold Digger – Kanye West
Dancing in the Moonlight - Toploader
Stuck With You – Huey Lewis and the News
Relaxation playlist includes:
Memory Gospel – Moby
Adagio for Tron – Daft Punk
Fly Me to the Moon – Groove Armada
Tom’s Diner – Suzanne Vega
Emerald and Stone – Brian Eno