Have you ever listened to a sad song when you’re heartbroken? How about blasted a jazzy number when you’re feeling upbeat? Most people know that music affects their mood. The question is, how does it do so?
Professor Adrian North, who was interviewed by The Huffington Post Australia, says that two main factors affect how people respond to music. Those two factors are whether the music is either unpleasant or pleasant, and active or relaxing. North postulates that we sort songs into their categories the first time that we hear them. This is the classic “first impression” that you make on other people – and that a song makes on you.
Can Music Intensify Your Mood?
An article published in PLOS ONE found that listening to sad music intensifies feelings of sadness and can even increase the feeling of grief. A complimentary article found that in general, people preferred to listen to sad music when they had experienced a loss, such as the end of a relationship. You might recall listening to sad songs after your heart was broken or you lost a loved one. This is scientifically showing that sad music may help us process those negative feelings.
In contrast, a 2013 article in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that people were able to increase their moods by listening to upbeat music for just a few weeks. Not only did these people’s mood improve, there was also a positive change in their physical health, income, and relationship satisfaction.
Can Music Change Your Mood?
You might be tempted to simply turn on some upbeat music whenever you’re feeling blue in order to cheer yourself up. However, Professor North states that this is not likely to work. “If someone is in a grumpy mood and is determined to be in a grumpy mood, simply playing them a happy song is not going to shift that.”
Just because music can’t change your mood doesn’t mean the two aren’t related. Music ties deeply to the emotions that we, as people, feel. According to Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, music allows us to connect with one another on an emotional level. Music provides us with bonding experiences that may not affect our immediate mood but do influence us throughout our lifetime.
Getting the Help You Need
If you find yourself in need of professional mental health help, there are many resources available for you. If you find yourself stuck in a particularly negative mood (especially one that’s lasting longer than normal), reach out to get help – you are not alone.