If you were to ask yourself, “does music affect your mood?” you’d most likely answer with a resounding yes.
We all have those songs: the ones that make us cry, the ones that make us laugh, and the ones we belt out in the car. Most of us have a specific playlist we turn to when we want to invoke a certain feeling. We turn up our upbeat playlists when we are in need of some motivation. We let our hearts be mended by our slow and sad playlists in times of solace.
As a species, we’ve been creating, playing, and listening to music for hundreds of thousands of years. Music is a universal language that has the ability to foster deep connections no matter who you are and where you come from. But does music affect your mood? Can a three-minute song move you both literally and emotionally?
There’s no denying that music heals. It has the power to transform and shift our disposition almost instantly.
Nowadays we have access to thousands and thousands of pieces of music right at our fingertips through our choice of streaming services. In moments of stress, on a long commute, when we’re in love, or when we’re simply walking down the street, we can tune out the world and tune into our earbuds, where soothing and inspiring melodies can instantly shift our emotional state. When considering the question, “does music affect your mood?”, simply turn on your favorite song and notice the way it makes you feel or the way your hips may start to sway.
We’ve all had moments of intense emotions both positive and negative. Experiencing the vast spectrum of emotions is a part of what makes us all human. For many of us, music is what we’ve turned to for emotional support, to uplift, to comfort, and to cope. Most of us have cried to a love song post-breakup. By contrast, we also have those songs that bring a smile to our faces every time we hear it. Seeing a live music performance can feel like a religious experience for many. We all remember the first time we went to a concert, where we witnessed the dynamic power of sound firsthand.
So how does music affect your mood?
Let’s take a look at the science.
In a study from 2013, researchers found that after two weeks of listening to upbeat music, participants noted that their mood vastly improved. That’s not surprising.
When we are able to shift our mood, our overall health can also greatly improve in a myriad of ways. From a strengthened immune system to less stress, those who are able to maintain a good mood are ultimately doing both their mental and physical health a huge favor. Plus, when music has a positive and uplifting message, we are all the more inspired as the lyrics subconsciously sink into our brains.
When we listen to music, both dopamine and serotonin levels increase in the body. These neurotransmitters are responsible for emitting feelings of pleasure and happiness and are especially helpful in easing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Music thus has immense power in maintaining and lifting our mood on a chemical level. Positive emotions are linked to a stronger immune system and reduced stress. Simply put, happier people lead happier, and thus healthier, lives.
The more music you have in your life, the happier you will undoubtedly be.
Another study found that people enjoy listening to slower, more somber tunes when they experience times of sadness. At some point in life we all experience loneliness, sadness, heartbreak, and distress. It seems that when addressing the question, “Does music affect your mood?”, we find music is there to console us even in times of strife. It soothes the soul and heals the heart. We feel understood by the musicians whose lyrics and melody express what we too are going through. Furthermore, when we need to be relieved of our worries, playing classical music has been scientifically proven to alleviate anxiety.
Music can even be used as a form of healing therapy. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) uses musical intervention and exercises as a way to help deal with cognitive issues, open up the voice, release stress and manage chronic pain. One study found that music therapy helped alleviate symptoms from mood and neurological disorders. Music therapy uses individualized programs that can help with a variety of different health problems. From learning disabilities to Alzheimer’s disease, music can be a powerful therapy. It’s an increasingly available treatment option that is becoming popular in hospitals and treatment centers, allowing people to seek a more musically-inclined approach to healing.
Another form of music therapy that is rising in popularity is sound healing.
Sound healings use mantras, sacred sounds, crystal bowls, gongs, tuning forks, and other instruments all designed for release, relaxation, healing, and entering a state of bliss. It involves laying down, tuning into your breath, and allowing the sounds to take you on a meditative journey. These particular instruments and sounds are set to a specific frequency that is meant to shift the brain to an alpha or theta state. When our brain is in such states, we find ourselves deeply relaxed.
It’s said that when our brain is in alpha state, we are able to tap into our subconscious and intuition. In theta state, we are in a sleep state or deep meditation where we can access vivid visualization and spiritual connection from a dreamlike state. Our physical bodies are given the chance to rest, the mind chatter quiets, and our emotions come into a state of balance. This restorative experience is further proof of how music really does affect your mood.
So the next time you’re mood is in need of a boost, music may be the remedy. Whether you’re listening, playing, or dancing, music deeply touches us all in some way. No one is exempt from this ubiquitous experience. Ultimately music can be seen as an integral component of our self-care routine. Find the notes and tunes that resonate with you on a soul level to experience the power of music for yourself.
Want to learn more mood-altering tips? Peruse the TelMD Upstream Blog!
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