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LoFi music

LoFi music, mental health, and its beautiful impact on its listeners

LoFi music has made a huge splash on the internet during the start of the pandemic, especially with mental health.

As people attempted to find new ways to focus and relieve stress while adjusting to a new work-from-home environment, Lo-Fi music steps in to bring in sounds that create the perfect ambiance for a stress-free productive environment.

According to Discovery Mazingine’s “ Why, LoFi Music Draws Listeners In” it defines Lofi as “ ‘ ‘low-fidelity,’ a term for music where you can hear imperfections that would typically be considered errors in the recording process …those ‘mistakes’ become an intentional part of the listening experience.”

The kind of music is rooted in no vocals, jazz sounds, bass and snare drums in a boom bat rhythm, and natural ambiance sound in everyday life coming together to create a beat that hits the sweet spot of not being over the top and not too slow which is perfect for stimulation.

One person highly credited for this style of creating beats is J Dilla a rapper/ producer from Detriot, who rose in the underground Hip-hop scene during the 90s.

He was highly respected in the hip-hop community and worked with big names like Erykah Badu, Tribe Called Quest, QTip, Common, etc. At the time of his last and most accredited work Donuts (2006) dropped, he was in the hospital due to complications with lupus.

He passed away after his 33rd Birthday. Most of what is listened to as Lo-fI music today has his musical legacy all over it.

These particular type of study/stress-free playlists is popular on platforms like SoundCloud, Youtube, and Spotify.

According to’s “ The science behind the ‘beats to study to’ craze” Brain.FM’s company director Kevin Woods, who also holds a Ph.D. in auditory neuroscience was quoted stating:

“​​Good focus music has no vocals, no strong melodies, ‘dark’ spectrum, dense texture, minimal salient events (more on that later), heavy spatialization, a steady pulse, sub-30-200Hz modulation, and above 10-20Hz modulation… Ideally, focus music is going to have a drive and energy. You want a sense of motion in the music, not just something light and airy”

When it comes to mental health, there have been studies that correlate the kind of music that is listened to, and the arousal state you are in. A medium post by Elisabeth Sherman referenced this study created by a member of the Cambridge brain sciences team in 2017, Tram Nguyen.

Nguyen was quoted in the piece stating “ ‘High-arousal’ music often has more distinct events per unit of time than low-arousal music, potentially making it more distracting, because the listener is more focused on processing the music rather than the task at hand.”

The overall study proved that “low-arousal negative music — music with low tempos and minor chord melodies, which are usually associated with despondency and sadness — improved memory performance the most.”

This kind of music does have the potential to block out intrusive noise through aural cocooning which is when a sound is repetitive and predictable enough to tune extra noise.

This kind of music also creates sound spatialization. This means the music has an element that hears as although it’s actually in the same room compared to the way hear through regular headphones. The rhythm and repetition of these beats create a stimulating environment. This can also help with cognitive issues.

Although there are some studies, there isn’t anything overly stating that Lo-Fi can be a fixer helper for mental health. LoFi music’s ability to create a calm and chilling atmosphere is something that overall can help regulate your mental health and emotions throughout work and everyday tasks.

1. Lofi Girl

2. ChillHop

Frustrated woman at work

3 Ways Corporate Greed is Destroying the Mental Health of People

Is corporate greed having an effect on people’s mental health? or as long as anyone can remember, being successful and ‘making it’ in the corporate world has been at the core of what’s perceived as a success.

When we realize how interconnected this concept is, we begin to see that this idea can lead to an unhealthy obsession. We also begin to see it can also be the root cause of so much unhappiness.

What is mental health?

Mental health is described as including emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It can affect all areas and stages of our life, from childhood to adulthood, and our relationship with ourselves and each other.

The importance of mental health cannot be overstated. Having good mental health can lead us to experience less stress and give us the ability to make sound choices that can lead to a better quality of life overall.

What is corporate greed?

Greed has been known to destroy relationships, companies and people. I think it’s no coincidence that greed is considered one of the seven deadly sins.

Corporate greed is when a corporation puts profit above the well-being of any individual who works for it. The corporation also doesn’t take any social responsibility for its actions.

There are so many ways ordinary and successful businesses and corporations out there seemingly suck the life out of people. With the global interest in wellness taking over and shifting people’s priorities, we look at some of the ways corporations are destroying lives and we share some potential solutions that could help to shift this unhealthy cycle.

Before the onslaught of the Coronavirus, some people may have thought that mental health is someone else’s problem. People maybe didn’t question their purpose because being successful and making more money than anyone else were the ultimate goals.

Having enough material wealth, being able to travel and show off your financial success was considered the ultimate reflection of a life well-lived.

However, we can all agree that the Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all industries, crippling the global economy in one fell swoop.

The results of corporate greed

Corporate greed is responsible for the gap between the rich and the poor growing wider than ever. The massive inequality we see is not the result of a healthy free market, it’s corporate elites that have been rigging the system to serve their ends.

Here are 3 ways corporate greed is destroying mental health:

1. The decline in the standard of living

A survey conducted in 2016 found that 7 in 10 Americans have only $1000 or less in their savings accounts. And this was 4 years ago, when there was no global economic collapse!

Now can you imagine what this virus has done to destroy these people’s lives? Can you imagine the kind of fear and stress these people are experiencing on a daily basis and how it must be affecting their mental health?

2. An unbearably high cost of living

The cost of living is skyrocketing by the day. One or more parents have likely been laid off, the cost of food is going up and the already high cost of childcare is exacerbating the problem. People that are renting their homes are terrified of being evicted and home ‘owners’ are worried about defaulting on their bank loans.

The amount of stress this situation puts on the family dynamic is sadly a reality for most. This reality is forcing people to seek out a quick buck and as a result, online gambling is on the rise.

3. A decline in physical health.

In some developed and even some third world countries, the government takes care of basic healthcare. However, in some countries like America, health insurance is privatized and as a result, capitalized. Most Americans can’t afford healthcare and some have been known to ration their medication just because it’s so unaffordable.

Bad physical health leads to bad mental health and suicides are on the rise as a result. Just surviving is becoming a stress a lot of people just can’t bear.

What can some industries do to help?

Online casinos

Online casinos must be more proactive rather than having a reactive response to issues they are causing. A feature that allows players to put a limit on how much they can lose, is an example of a reactive feature that hasn’t done much.

The gambling industry can also implement better machine learning algorithms and be more strict about who they don’t allow to gamble anymore – they only care about increasing the amount players are gambling.

Beauty and weight loss

The beauty and weight loss industry uses unrealistic skinny models and tries to paint an image that we should all look like that – and if we don’t we need a pill to lose weight. This is having a devastating effect on the mental health of young children who idolize images that could, in fact, be photoshopped.

Many social media stars have been blasted over their promotion of Flat Tummy Tea, for instance. The weight loss industry could shift its focus from instant weight loss to promoting being healthy instead.

Video gaming

With more and more children staying at home due to the virus, the video gaming industry could shift their focus to providing more educational games for children.

This will not only help to keep their minds healthy, it would also do a lot for decreasing the stigma parents feel when giving their children an iPad while they’re forced to work from home.

And so, while we are faced with an unimaginable struggle, this situation also provides an opportunity for corporations and businesses to rethink the industry – because the effect of corporate greed is too costly on mental health.

Mental Health Photographers

5 mental health photographers capturing the importance of MHAM

Art is not only a coping mechanism but an escape for many. Its different forms allow both artists and viewers to communicate, relate and understand the distinct depths of the human experience.

And now that is officially Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM), and the world is experiencing change like none before, perhaps, is worthwhile to explore the depths of the human mind through photographers.

Many of these visual artworks can be a great example to study and destigmatize different mental health problems.

The following photographers scrutinize and communicate different aspects of mental health. They explore depression, anxiety, and different mental disorders. But, most importantly, their depictions expose and challenge the taboos over the matter.

Edward Honaker

Edward Honaker was diagnosed with chronic depression when he was only 19-years-old. Thus, the photographer documents his experience with it through a series of black and white self-portraits. Honaker successfully captures the isolating fear that depression brings.

“Your mind is who you are, and when it doesn’t work properly, it’s scary,” he told The Huffington Post. Ironically, it was only after his diagnosis that he saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes, when your mind is off, it’s important to name the problem. Not only does this give you a kind of explanation, but it’s the first step toward finding a solution. That way, Honaker used his camera to turn these emotions into a tangible expressions.

Katie Joy Crawford

At only 11-years-old, Crawford had her first panic attack. When she was 13-years-old, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

In her series, My Anxious Heart, Katie Joy Crawford represents her physical experiences with anxiety and depression. The series not only aims to capture her internal struggles, but to bring them to light.

The photo series explores the emotional and physical journey that her diagnosis gave her life experience. She depicts her own experience as both draining and suffocating. Yet, aims to explain the weight that these bears in our society, thus challenging social taboos.

Heather Agyepong

Heather Agyepong, on the other hand, brings awareness to the difficulties in dealing with racism and oppression. This British-Ghanian artist sheds light on ‘Black trauma’ through a series of staged self-portraits. Mixing historical figures and her own experiences, she combats all the negative feelings of inequality and racism.

Her goal is to open up conversations about how these issues affect the Black community politically, socially, and most importantly, mentally. Thus, acknowledging the severity of the problem.

Photo by: Heather Agyepong, “Too Many Blackamoors”

John William Keedy

Through a deeply personal series ‘Its Hardly noticeable,’ photographer John William Keedy, illustrates his struggle with anxiety disorder.

After seven or eight years of being diagnosed with anxiety, Keedy was ready to create an artwork that not only represented him, but something that could help some audiences to relate. Through his series, he creates the ‘character,’ a person who intends to portray the different struggles that anxiety presents for different people.

Photo by: John William Keedy, Its Hardly Noticeable Series

He told NPR magazine, “if only to help a couple of people who are going through the same thing in some way feel that they’re not alone in this.”

Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwe

From the Plateau State conflicts to Boko Haram’s insurgency, Nigerian people have had their fair share of suffering. That leaves its scars.

Etinosa Yvonne Osayine uses her camera as a powerful tool to depict trauma and use it as evidence of such atrocities. Her series, ‘It’s all in my Head,’ aims to help people open up about their experience and help them deal with trauma.

“When I wake up in the morning and just before I go to bed, I think of all that happened. I went through hell and I can’t get it out of my head. Boko Haram is the worst thing that happened to me.”

Hajara Abubakar, 24, Borno, Nigeria. The Culture Trip Magazine
Photo by: Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwe, It’s all in my Head series

Yospie Cardoso

At the age of seven, Yospie Cardoso was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Through a series of self-portraits, he depicts the life of a man living with schizophrenia. Not only does he hope to incentivize awareness, but also to eliminate the stigmas around it.

Photo by: Yospie Cardoso, ‘Loneliness and Alienation’ 

“It’s been a chance to show people my experiences. When you tell people you have schizophrenia, they automatically think you’re crazy. I want people to understand and stop looking at the stigma of it.”

Yospie Cardoso, The Mighty Magazine, 2015
Photo by: Yospie Cardoso ‘Suicidal thoughts’ 

The importance of photographers specializing in mental health

Art can be both golden or gummy, but it is always real. Whether it is the subconscious mind communicating something beyond the realms of rationality, or a practical depiction of existence.

What these artists communicate, for that matter, depends on the eyes of those viewing. At the end of the day, the beholder would always see what the beholder wants to see. So, whatever it is, just let it sink.


The importance of the youth playing grassroots sports

Grassroot sports are something that should be available to everyone. We all like to follow the major teams and big stars in football, basketball, and baseball, but it’s also important to support local teams and clubs.

Even more important is to make sure that everyone who wants to can participate in sports at an appropriate level, and to provide encouragement to the young, the disadvantaged, and the potentially excluded to take part.

Grassroots sports can be defined as community-driven sports activity at a local level that is mainly recreational, rather than being about achieving high levels of performance or commercial success.

It’s often facilitated by small clubs and sports organizations staffed by volunteers, although sometimes a major sporting organization, such as the local basketball team, may donate facilities and support.

These teams may be looking to develop the players of tomorrow, but they are also giving something back to their community in allowing them to enjoy sports participation for its own sake.

In terms of youth sports, we can also look to schools and colleges as well as informal activities using facilities – playing fields, courts and halls – maintained and run by local government or the community.

Young people often self-organize, though in other cases, parents, teachers and other local stakeholders may get together to arrange ‘little league’ games and the like.

Physical education programs, in high school and earlier, are also foundational in terms of developing an interest in sport and providing a gateway to participation.

The importance of sport

The importance of grassroots sports participation can be understood in multiple ways. Most obviously, sport is a great way of achieving physical health, and is possibly the best way to combat general, lifestyle-related poor health on a community basis.

Childhood obesity, in particular, is a huge problem across the US along with related conditions such as diabetes. Encouraging and facilitating regular physical exercise through sports can go a long way to combating that health issue.

Mental health

Less well-documented, but equally important, is the impact of sports participation on mental health. Physical exercise can be as effective for mild clinical depression as medication, as strenuous activity stimulates feel-good chemicals in the brain.

Sports give back more than solitary exercise does in this regard, however. Playing as part of a team, achieving goals, taking responsibility and following discipline can all help build confidence and self-respect.

Grassroots sport brings communities together, combating isolation which is often one of the most debilitating factors where mental health is concerned.

Youth sports can be enormously beneficial for children with behavioral problems, and this, in turn, can lead to better educational and career opportunities. Communities with active youth sports programs also often see a corresponding reduction in crime and anti-social behavior.

Opportunities for youth

Charitable organizations such as the 2×2 Foundation, established by entrepreneur and former college football star Nick Palazzo, recognize the importance of youth sports in terms of providing opportunities for young people that may not otherwise be available.

Palazzo’s foundation focuses on athletic scholarships, particularly for young women, and for refurbishing and rebuilding rundown athletic facilities. Access to sports for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or social background, needs to be a priority. This also includes sports provision for those with disabilities or other health issues.   

Challenges faced

Despite support from foundations, government and private organizations, grassroots sports clubs face many challenges. Inexperience can lead to poor organizational practice, while volunteer staff and coaches may face unrealistic expectations, particularly from parents in the case of youth groups. A lack of facilities and equipment that is fit for purpose is often an especially pressing concern, and all these factors can lead to a high level of participant drop-out.

Social hub

In spite of this, grassroots sports clubs are often a social hub in their community, providing a wide range of services that go beyond their basic sports remit.

They may have a bar or café that is widely used, promote dances and other musical events, and contribute to charity, often including food drives for the homeless.

There is great evidence that grassroots sports organizations bring communities together, not just through the actual games and matches but through wider activities that provide a focus for a town or neighborhood.

Greater support

As such, it’s clear that grassroots and youth sport needs greater support. The focus should be on inclusive participation and encouragement rather than competition.

Community assets like playing fields need to be protected, while volunteers need to be screened and trained to safeguard the welfare of participants.

By improving physical and mental health and providing opportunities for individuals and groups who may otherwise be marginalized and excluded, grassroots and youth sport provides a massive social service.

Clubs also contribute to community cohesion and in myriad other ways. Recognition of this is essential for the future health of society as a whole.

Is Wale right, again? Should record deals come with mental health insurance

Wale has been in album mode ever since dropping the single “Gemini (2 Sides)” this past July and if there’s been any indication that he’s out here it’s been his heavy presence online.

Whether it’s his classic self-deprecating tweets on being single, sparking debate on breakfast, where to find the best sandwiches and ramen, or calling himself the greatest rapper of all-time, the D.C native has gone viral a couple of times over these past weeks.

He hasn’t even done a press run yet.

In the midst of his one-man promo campaign, the 34-year-old rapper managed to cause a stir on something a little more worthwhile than failed loved and fast food. Yesterday (Aug 8), Wale shared a clip on social media where he speaks on mental health issues that he’s dealt with in the past.

During the conversation, the “Ambition” artist listed reasons that record deals should encompass mental health insurance. Not only was Wale on to something, but other notable names also cosigned, further signifying that maybe something of the liking should be done.

“You’ve gotta remind yourself who you are especially with like celebrities,” Wale stated.

“People — Monday everybody– you going to bed, looking at your comments everybody telling you you’re the greatest and by Friday everybody telling you that you fell off and you’re the worst. It’s difficult. I think that record deal should come with mental health insurance, to be honest. I think it should be part of it.”

At the very least, Wale’s timing is on cue. The past couple of years have been a watershed moment for mental health and destigmatizing the conversations surrounding it. Kanye West, Chance The Rapper, Royce Da 5’9 and more have come forward admitting struggling with mental health not to mention Cudi checked into a rehab facility for treatment back in 2016. 

According to notes from the physician search firm Merritt Hawkins in a 2017 report, the United States is suffering from a dramatic shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health providers and online counseling sites like Talkspace have grown up to 80 percent in recent years.

Wale went on to say that when it comes to success “there’s no map” which makes it easy to “spiral at any time.”

“It’s hard to keep yourself in check because there’s a lot of enablers and the thing that’s even worse than enablers now is people who are so determined to not be an enabler that all they do is they think they giving you tough love but they kicking you when you’re down,” he added.

When you think about it, artists take on a lot — from their label wanting the numbers, critics wanting the same thing and fans wanting more — and unless you’re knowledgable of how to invest in doing so, seeking out the resources to properly tend to your mental health could be an overwhelming task.

What Wale is suggesting is instead of giving these SoundCloud rapping kids millions of dollars, to also give them a means of checking up on themselves with the burden that comes with fame.

Instead of drugs, why not provide, or even mandate, a therapist?

If labels really cared like they said they did, they’d listen to the “Lotus Flower Bomb” rapper and add mental health insurance to their label deals. Until then I guess we’ll see.

Until then peep Wale’s latest single “On Chill” below.