It is no secret that music can change our moods instantly. We feel happy every time we hear those beautiful compositions on the radio. Sometimes, we get hyped when our jam is on. We feel our whole body getting into the beat and rhythm. We feel happy and become alive. But what exactly does music do to our brain? How about those sad and gloomy songs? What can they do to us? How can we use it to sustain quality emotional and mental balance? Let’s try to understand its psychology.
Music In Our Lives
Jennifer Bradley, Psy.D., HSPP, Clinical Psychologist often says, “When we are imbalanced, we develop various types of difficulties, including psychological and/or physical symptoms, and we begin to use ineffective or damaging coping mechanisms.” With that, a lot of experts suggest that we should spend around 40% of our time actively or passively in listening to music. That is because happy songs can make us feel good. It is beneficial for our mental structure because it promotes the release of brain chemicals called dopamine. It connects to the reward system of the brain. We feel the sensation of music passing through the internals of our body. That is the reason why we sometimes feel like dancing to the beat and get moving into the rhythm.
But since not all songs appear to be created equal, those sad ones cater to a different effect. The sad songs can help us spiral down to what emotions we need to overcome. No, contrary to what people believe, sad songs do not support emotional imbalance. The truth is, it creates a significant tunnel that makes us appreciate the not-so-good emotions we have. It helps us understand what type of feelings and thoughts should get released on a particular moment. Note that not because we hear songs that are devastating or sad, it does not mean it cannot contribute to our mental and emotional growth. It is best to say those moving songs can bring significant help in neutralizing our emotional response. As mentioned by Dr. Aaron Kaplan, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist in an article, “Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel. Practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power. Give yourself a positive pep-talk.”
Music is one of the vital things that we can never live without. It is the fortress of our emotional and mental state. It allows us to feel the exact feelings we need to handle, and it helps us understand those as well. We grew up with it because it is merely a part of us. We learn to respond to the beat and rhythm even in the early stages of our lives. Of course, the types of music we love to listen to, and our preference for any genre changes over time. That is perfectly normal. As music continues to evolve, our choice to it also matters.
In some cases, there are genres that perhaps others will not agree to like. That is okay. Some people feel confident and relaxed when they hear the songs they prefer. So it does not entirely matter.
Music’s effect on our emotional and mental health is exceptional. That is because “A mental illness cannot be willed away or brushed aside with a change in attitude. Ignoring the problem doesn’t give it the slip either.” Deborah Serani, PsyD elaborates. That is the reason why it gets considered as part of other psychological treatments. Because not only it tends to prove its effectiveness in mood regulation, but it also shows successful results in treating a series of clinical depression, stress, and anxiety.