How does music affect our moods?
How does music affect our moods, and why does it influence us in so many ways? In this post I will write about what happens when we hear different types of music. Some of this will seem like common sense, but until I looked further into this subject, I didn’t realise how easy it was to make a low mood much worse by listening to the “wrong” music.
Music for meditation
Calm and gentle sounds can be used as a background to meditation. They help put you in a relaxed mood by slowing down your heartbeat. I also find that these ‘neutral’ sounds aren’t associated with a particular memory, so they can sometimes help clear my mind.
If you are not sure about meditation then I suggest you have a look at this great post from Alison:
Music for motivation
Upbeat songs can lift your mood and be very motivating. This is because the pace of the music quickens the heart. Happy tunes can therefore make you feel happy, or happier. Listening to tunes with a fast rhythm can give you energy to get through tasks like housework, or help you with exercise.
Sad songs say so much
Sad songs are like a triple whammy. The slow beat, the melody and the lyrics combine to tell you a sad story, and can actually make low moods worse. They slow you right down. Yet, if you aren’t suffering a low mood, and you are generally happy, it’s possible that these sadder tunes can just serve to relax you.
Memories are made of this
However, I think the biggest effect is caused when music triggers an actual memory. It is certainly when I feel it most. Music, or the lyrics to a song, can remind you of many things; a time, place, person or an event. That’s what makes it so powerful. It can bring back a good or bad memory. I also believe that happy tunes can trigger sad memories, and maybe sad songs can trigger happy memories too. It all depends on how that piece of music made you feel when you first heard it and perhaps how events have changed since.
Lost in music
I’m sure you have heard of being “lost in the music” or have seen people with their eyes closed and swaying to a song. Music can transport your mind to a different place and time. Yet, you don’t always know how much a tune is under your skin until you hear it again, and that can hit you like a wave.
Life is a cabaret
Musical theatre takes us through a whole range of emotions. If your overall experience of going to the theatre was a good one, then listening to the soundtrack should revive good vibes. This is because, even if there are sad songs within the story, your enduring memory is that you enjoyed the performance.
I should be so lucky
It can be a whole genre or style of music that affects your mood. Musicians use this knowledge to write popular songs. Christmas songs, summer holiday songs, dance music, etc. all have a formula. When we hear them our brains tell us what to associate with that tune, as we react to the formula. That’s one reason why we have favourite bands, and how we can identify songwriters and producers, because of the magic formula. Remember Stock, Aitken and Waterman?
I don’t feel like dancing
The next time you choose a playlist, think carefully about why you have chosen that music. If you feel happy, you’re more likely to want to enhance that happy mood with your song choices. If you feel sad, you may be subconsciously choosing music that makes you feel even sadder. Or you might avoid a piece of music altogether, because the emotions that go with it are too strong. If music is making you sad, challenge yourself to listen to something new and with a faster beat. The combination of a change in tempo and no triggers could be the change you need to lift you back up again.
Related post: https://marieceline.co.uk/music-for-moods
Thank you for the music
Music also has a way of bringing people together. Think camp fire songs, charity singles, or groups that have formed from adversity, or just choirs and groups in general.
Performing music can also have great benefits. I would guess that most professional musicians started with music as a hobby. Having a hobby, especially a creative one is an excellent way to relax. When my son was in hospital he was offered music therapy, although he preferred to listen to Spotify or watch music videos on YouTube. Without a doubt it helped him through a difficult time. He still tells me now that he recommends a “party for one” when life gets tough.
So now you have read this, please do tell me how does music affect your mood? What are your favourite tracks? Do you have different playlists depending on moods, or is it just a list of favourites?
As usual, I would like to say thank you so much for visiting my little corner of the internet – I really do appreciate it!