Published May 2024

Listen in to lighten the mood

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Farmers and crofters from across Scotland have come together to help create a Farmstrong Scotland music playlist that people can connect with, whilst also feeling part of a community who are experiencing similar challenges.  

Within one week of launching, more than 100 song suggestions were sent in and added to the playlist, covering every music genre from modern country to 70’s pop with many Scottish bands also featuring. Celtic rock band Skerryvore took to social media to say they were “delighted to be the choice of Scottish farmers’, with three of their songs being nominated. 

Research has shown that music can help reduce anxiety, lower stress and release endorphins, that contribute towards a sense of happiness. It can also be a good distraction in stressful situations, decreasing blood pressure and heart rate, and acting as an escape mechanism.  

Psychotherapists Kirsty Ritchie and Louise Scott who run Mind & Mission, an organisation that works with individuals and businesses to improve wellbeing and fitness, have produced a new resource for Mental Health Awareness Week “how grooving to the beat can boost your mood” which can be found on the Wellbeing Hub on the Farmstrong website.  

They describe how when we immerse ourselves in music and movement, we become more attuned to the sensations of our bodies, fostering a deeper sense of body awareness and mindfulness. 

“The euphoria experienced while dancing isn't merely coincidental; it's deeply ingrained in our biology. When we dance, our brains release a cascade of feel-good chemicals, including endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating our mood, reducing stress, and promoting feelings of happiness and pleasure. As the music moves us, our bodies respond by producing these neurochemicals, leading to a natural high that leaves us feeling invigorated and alive.” 

Whilst it is not always possible to get off the farm, small steps within the workplace can make a big difference to your wellbeing, as Duncan Shaw from Dalchosnie, Kinloch Rannoch found, 

“The playlist certainly helped to add energy and colour to the grey, dreary scenes of the lambing fields and is good for helping reset the mood whatever you’re working on. 

“Farming is an isolating job for some, but it’s quite nice thinking that we’re all coming up with songs to add and collectively listening to the same playlist”. 

The interest in the playlist has exceeded the expectations of Farmstrong and will now be a permanent resource for the wellbeing programme.  

“I don’t think there will be a farmer or crofter who would not agree that this spring was more challenging than most, with lambing and sowing proving difficult in the relentless wet weather. Regardless of the weather or time of year though, the playlist is there to try and help those in the farming community contribute to their own wellbeing by lifting their mood with music while they work.” explains John Scott, Farmstrong Scotland Chairman and Farmer 

“The playlist has certainly helped me, not just through listening to the tunes but knowing others have contributed and that families are talking and connecting over the dinner table, coming up with song suggestions. Keep them coming!” 

Anyone can contribute a song suggestion for the playlist by emailing hello@farmstrongscotland.org.uk or getting in touch over social media. 

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