Is Vinyl Better for Your Mental Health?

I recently saw a post by @thevinyldoctor about vinyl being better for your mental health. It was a great post and I asked her to come back for another interview to discus this more in depth considering everything that’s going on in the world right now.

Why do you think vinyl is better than other forms of music for your mental health?

Thank you for asking this question. I really wish I could have gone more into depth in my last post, so I’m excited to talk a little bit more about that here. Vinyl is better for our mental health for two main reasons: 1) listening to vinyl is a mindful and grounding activity and 2) listening and collecting is social. Unlike many other formats, vinyl is more active and physical. We can touch and see the album artwork and outer jackets, we can read the liner notes and lyrics, and look at the beautiful photos, we can actually touch the vinyl, and in some cases we can admire colored vinyl. The act of listening to the music is also physical, as we are involved in the entire process, from setting the record on the platter, lowering the tonearm, and walking back up to our turntable to flip and change records. This entire process slows us down for the time we listen to each album, and it really helps keep us in the moment. If you have vintage hifi gear, you also add the practice of touching all the knobs to enhance your listening experience. There are also other things that come with vinyl that are physical. Cleaning, organizing, and digging in a shop are also physical acts that are unique to collecting vinyl. As you can see, listening to vinyl is something that is using many of our senses, which can be grounding. Grounding techniques, refers to a physical process to help you refocus and stay in the present moment. I frequently use these techniques to help my clients manage their feelings of anxiety. The other reason I believe vinyl is good for our mental health is because of the social aspect. Although we tend to listen to our records alone, this is the only format I know of that such a large community associated with it. Since collecting vinyl, I have met so many people, including record shop owners/employees, fellow collectors while digging, and so many other vinyl lovers in the IG Vinyl Community. These relationships have gone on to develop farther than just a meeting, I have spent hours talking to these people each time I am in a record shop or on IG. I have even developed friendships with some of these individuals, which is a really beautiful and unique thing to the vinyl format. As far as our mental health, social support is a very important protective factor and coping skill one can have for helping maintain our mental health. Human relationships are so vital in our development and emotional well-being, so it’s pretty amazing that a seemingly trivial hobby can provide these benefits.

What can people do under the current circumstances to stay sane and busy during these times?

Firstly, I think it’s so important to recognize that these times that we are currently living in are difficult and stressful. Once we can recognize that, we can acknowledge the impact it is having on us. I highly recommend for anyone feeling a little more stressed or unsettled during these times to do the following:

1. Stick to a routine – This is especially important if you are working from home or not working/going to school. Set up a schedule (written or typed up is best) outlining what your day will look like. This includes meals, tasks, leisure activities, and bed time. If you are working/distance learning, also try your best to work during “work hours” in order to really separate your home and work life. This will help us have some predictability and consistency during these times and will help with the quarantine fatigue we are all feeling.

2. Be active – At least for 15 mins a day. Go for a walk, exercise, ride bikes, or dance around your house!

3. Connect with others – This seems especially difficult at this time, but there are ways to stay connected while social distancing. Call, text, and FaceTime your friends and loved ones. You can also set up Zoom/Google Hangout/Skype/etc gatherings for a game night, dance party, or just to chat.

4. Practice self-care – These are all those things that you love and lift your spirits! Gardening, writing poetry, painting, dancing, whatever! Do more of what you love during this time, it might even be listening to vinyl!

Is your practice still open?

The agency that I work for is still open during this time, in order for us to ensure the children and families of our community are receiving their mental health services during this stressful time.

Any advice for people finding things hard at the moment?

My advice for everyone would be to remember that we are all living through a very unique and difficult time, so it is ok to feel more tired, confused, stressed, uncomfortable, etc. Be extra kind to yourself, if you feel like you are doing less, not productive, or not “using this time wisely.” No one should be expected to go through life as before during a global crisis.

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