Why Music Makes Us Feel Happy… or Sad
How is it that music can lift or lower your mood? What is it about certain notes and sounds that directly affect how you are feeling, either happy, neutral or sad? How was it that, in just a few seconds, hearing your favorite song can move you from depression to happiness? More importantly, how can you use this knowledge on a daily basis to improve your mood? Let’s take a look at the music/emotion connection in human beings.
There are those songs which make you feel absolutely euphoric. On the flip side of that coin, there are styles of music, particular songs and certain sounds that drive you absolutely crazy. Why is this? You may be surprised to know that the smartest scientists and researchers in the field of music as an emotional trigger to this day don’t understand exactly why this happens.
This is because different people often react to the same songs, sounds and types of music in starkly different ways. Sometimes a song can be linked to a positive event or life circumstance, and every time you hear it, you can’t help but smile in memory. In other cases, a particularly emotional speech by an influential figure can crank up the emotions in everyone who hears it, including that speaker’s supporters and detractors.
There has been substantial research into how music and sound can be used for mob control, in jails, hospitals and public places, to offer a calming effect. Though this works exceptionally well after experimenting with different songs and types of music, the jury is out on exactly how, or why, the process works.
How to Use This Knowledge to Your Advantage
Unless you have never been exposed to music of some kind, you unconsciously understand that hearing music can play an important part in setting your mood. Like the scientists who tirelessly research the emotion/music connection, you don’t need to know the “why” of the process.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t benefit from and harness this incredible power. Experiment. Listen to new forms of music. Go to YouTube and search for “meditation music” or “soothing music”. Keep trying music that is new to you, as well as music you already know calms and soothes you.
When you find that special piece of music that moves you from depression to euphoria, from sadness to joy, from stress and anxiety to peace and tranquility, you have come across an incredibly powerful emotional reset button. With the prevalence of smart phones, tablets, computers, wearable technology and MP3 players, this means 24/7 access to mood boosting audio that can help keep your emotions in check and stress levels low.