The world has changed – and there may be no going back. In the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, millions of people across the globe have taken up the rallying cry of “stay at home” in a concerted effort to prevent the specter of the worst-case scenario from becoming a reality.

But, as schools and businesses temporarily close their doors, streets empty and once-bustling neighborhoods become eerily silent, where  does one turn for a sense of hope? How can we connect with one another when #SocialDistancing is the buzzword of the moment and viral communication has taken on a sinister new meaning?

The answer is closer than you think: Music.

Numerous studies, including two surveys conducted by HARMAN together with FutureSource in 2018 and 2019, have shown that music has profound physiological, psychological, and cognitive benefits. Music boosts productivity and combats stress while strengthening social bonds. Music stimulates emotions and contributes to a sense of happiness and well-being.

It’s a distressing time. Anxiety, already rife in modern society, is being compounded by the Coronavirus pandemic and the emotional strain and loneliness that comes with social distancing. Social distancing may keep us away from loved ones, but music can play a critical role in easing this discomfort.

Thanks to advances in mobile and streaming technology, you don’t need to go anywhere to enjoy music;  music has never been more abundant, more accessible, or more immediate.

At HARMAN, we believe in music’s ability to help people improve their mood and their lives. That’s why our highest aim is to help them get the most out of each moment they spend listening, whether by harnessing the latest technological innovations or by encouraging the world to embrace the transformative power of music through active and deep listening skills.

According to Dr. Hauke Egermann, Assistant Professor in Music Psychology at the University of York, music is a tool that we developed to manage our emotions. It also plays a key role in our social identity, helping us to express something about ourselves and to place ourselves within society. In short, music soothes. Music affirms. Music connects.

Let’s face it: COVID-19 may be forcing us to remain indoors, but as society has filled with computer, tablet, and phone screens, the truth is that we have been increasingly distancing ourselves from authentic human connection for quite some time.

Music is a way back. A way back to each other. A way back to ourselves.

Now perhaps more than ever, music is what can help to give us hope, to create greater connection, to bring healing, and, above all, stay united, summoning the sense of togetherness that we've been deprived of because of social distancing.

As we all do our part to help health professionals do theirs, let us remember to take care of ourselves, body and mind, and not hesitate to lean on one of humanity’s oldest, most powerful self-care allies – let’s not forget the power of music.